Issues to think about before you start – training
Training and support for the chair of the group. Poor chairing can make it very difficult for members of the public to contribute to meetings or to teleconferences. Not all chairs will have experience of working with a mixed group including members of the public, and may benefit from support and guidance.
Training for other members of the group. Non-public group members may benefit from training in involvement to fully understand the benefits and purpose of involvement and to prepare for new ways of working. They may want help with improving their communication skills and may need to briefed so as not to be overly protective or deferential to members of the public.
Be creative about access to training. Budgets for training can be limited and training useful to steering group members may be available through local libraries, voluntary organisations, universities and higher education colleges.