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A consensus session is where those involved in the self-assessment have the chance to discuss the results of the checklist. It should last no longer than three hours. The session involves group work, discussion and arriving at an agreement on which areas for improvement should be prioritised.
During the Consensus Session, it is necessary to split into groups of three to allow each group to look at three areas of the checklist report. Each group will look at the data results, the written comments and areas for improvement in each section. After a group discussion, 2-3 key areas for priority should be highlighted.
It is important to have a structured timeline during the session to get the most out of the group work. Allocate 15 minute slots for each area for improvement.
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In order to prioritise areas for improvement, it is important to involve the whole group. This allows the prioritisation activity to reflect the general consensus in the room on what should be tackled first. A simple exercise called ‘dot-mocracy’ can help you do this. Issue everyone with 3 or 5 sticky dots and ask them to place them next to the area for improvement they feel should be treated with most urgency. They can place one dot against a different action, or all 5 dots against an action they feel particularly strongly about. By the end of the session you will have a clear visual overview of where the priorities lie.
The prioritised areas for improvement are carried forward to the Improvement Planning Session. They will then be turned into more tangible actions which go on to populate the final improvement plan.