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Participation and co-production best practice

Planning a new face-to-face session

Prompts for organising your session(s).

How many people will attend an event and staffing

You should consider:

  • What is a comfortable number of attendees, so everyone is safely supported
  • How many people will be available to support at an event
  • Do staff have knowledge and understanding of the needs of the children and young people they will be supporting?
  • Have you got back-up arrangements in place in case of emergency?
  • Have you got everyone's mobile numbers in case they are needed?

In general, 10 attendees would be the optimum number, 25 would be the maximum number and four attendees is the minimum number.

Venue and transport

Choosing the right venue is important.

  • Can people get there using different means of transport? Will travel be provided? Who is expected to cover the cost?
  • Is it accessible for people with physical disabilities and sensory needs? Look for a venue in a safe and quiet location
  • Is there a quiet space available in case it is needed?

Date and time

Organise the session or event at a time that will work for children and young people and/or their parents/carers. It is always going to be tricky to find a time that works for everybody:

  • For children and young people this is likely to be early evening
  • For parents and carers this is likely to be between 10am and 2pm or in the evening
  • Alternatively, consider holding your meeting or event at the weekend 

Special educational needs and disabilities

Gather information about children and young people's special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and medical needs in advance.

  • Be aware that some people may not recognise or disclose their needs
  • Share this information on a need-to-know basis with staff. This is so they can understand, support and adapt to the needs of those they are supporting

Risk assessment and first aid

Share your risk assessment with all staff and share relevant information with those attending. For example:

  • Where the fire exits are
  • How Deaf/blind people will be supported in the event of a fire alarm or fire drill
  • You will also need a first aid kit and trained first aider in attendance at your event. Check with your venue as they may have everything in place that you need

Food and refreshments

  • Will you need to provide lunch or refreshments, or will people prefer to bring their own food and drink?
  • If food is provided gather information about dietary requirements
  • If using a caterer, make sure they can provide food to meet all dietary needs


    It is important to get consent from parents and carers for their child to take part.

    • Do not exclude children and young people from making decisions about consent
    • Consent is needed for photographs to be taken and used
    • Consider using one form to collect consent and to record the child or young person's medical needs, special educational needs and/or disabilities if they have them, and dietary needs   

    Communication and publicity

    • All publicity should be in an accessible format. It might need to be in more than one format, for example, Easy Read
    • Share information well in advance so children and young people have time to plan and prepare. Send out meeting agendas a couple of days before. Include names and photos of staff, photos of the venue and details of facilities, for example, toilets and quiet area

    Materials and resources

    • Materials and resources should be accessible. Consider language, Easy Read format, pictures and images
    • Try to make the materials bright and colourful
    • Get hold of some fidget toys to put on tables
    • Consider having additional creative activities to give children and young people a break