Our Approach

Community consulation and engagement with the rigour of a market research based approach


We offer the full range of stakeholder and community engagement services, but the key point of difference lies in our knowledge, experience and skills in applying Deliberative Engagement techniques.

Almost ten years ago, we formed a partnership with the UK's leading Deliberative practitioner, Opinion Leader, who provided extensive early training and support.

In fact our current Engagement Manager joined us from Opinion Leader where she was involved in conducting literally hundreds of deliberative events, including personally managing a major project for then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Since those early days, we have carried out Deliberative events in Australia for Federal, State and Local government and for major corporates.


Deliberative Engagement

Deliberative Engagement is a distinctive approach that gives participants the time and information to consider issues in-depth, make the required trade-offs and then arrive at considered outcomes.

It combines the benefits of market research with community consultation:

  • True representation – participants can be recruited by traditional market research techniques to ensure that they reflect the actual demographics of the population rather than through self-selection.
  • Deliberation – participants are given time, information and access to experts in order to grapple with complex trade-offs and think about future scenarios.
  • Objectivity – independent facilitation and true representation means that the outcomes stand up to outside scrutiny.
  • Techniques – we use sophisticated and interactive facilitation techniques such as quizzes, role playing, card sorts, dragon’s den and planet projectives. Optional electronic voting with real time results gives a quantitative component to outputs.
  • Solutions focused – shared priorities are identified during the sessions themselves rather than through analysis afterwards.
  • PR and media coverage – where appropriate, media can be invited to observe events providing the potential for positive PR.

The main types of deliberative engagement are:

Juries – usually 12-16 people meeting for a number of days; expert witnesses are called to provide detailed information and can be cross-examined.

Forums – 50-200 people, convened for ½ -2 days; information input, breakout groups and plenary sessions; voting on key issues.

Summits – large scale events of up to 1000 participants; one venue or several venues linked by video conferencing.

Deliberative engagement can involve the public, service users, customers, community groups, staff, opinion leaders and other stakeholders.

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