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Participation and co-production best practice

Starting a project with children and young people

Before you start a project with children and young people (CYP), you should:

Have a clear project outcome

It is important to be clear about the outcome you want to achieve. For example, are you considering a change to a strategy, or reviewing a service?

If you are planning to work with just children and young people, you should consider:

  • How CYP will help to get you to the outcome
  • How you will explain to CYP what you want to achieve
  • How you will engage CYP, so they want to be involved
  • How you will give CYP the chance to have a say
  • How much involvement CYP will have in decision-making
  • How you will feedback to the CYP who you worked with

Consider how you will meet

What you want to achieve and who you want to engage with will influence how you will meet. It will also influence your planning and timescales.

  • If you ask an established group for views, the group organisers can help you. You will be able to ask about the needs of the group, find out what members are used to and can check what software and venue is used. There are several existing groups and forums in Norfolk
  • You will need to do more organisation if you are setting up a new online group or meeting
  • If you are organising a new face-to-face group, meeting or event, you will have lots to think about and do

Other considerations

  • What resources do you have available? For example, people, partnerships, time and money
  • Are there existing groups you could participate with? How do they meet?
  • Do you need to create a group? How will you recruit children, young people and/or families to join the group?
  • How you will communicate with children, young people and families. How will you promote participation activities to them and share information?
  • When is the best time to meet your target audience? This may be different for CYP and parents/carers
  • The use of language when speaking to children, young people and families. For example, will your target audience know what SEND means or that it relates to them?

The Lundy Model is a useful framework to use when planning your sessions.