What to feedback
Once your lived experience activity has finished, you should reflect on what people have told you. You should give participants feedback about what you'll do as a result of their participation. And you should gather feedback on how they found the process, too.
Insights and actions
When you carry out lived experience work, people's input will give you 2 things - insights and actions.
Insights are an in-depth understanding of the issues, challenges and ideas people have presented you with.
Actions are the steps you can take to address these insights.
Why should you feedback?
You should routinely feedback to people explaining the outcome of their input. If you've not been able to implement their suggestions or ideas, tell them. If possible, explain why not.
This can be really beneficial for the participants involved. Giving detailed feedback can make people feel truly valued and often boosts participants’ confidence.
On the other hand, not receiving feedback, especially when it was expected, could leave people feeling cast aside and unappreciated. They might be less willing to share their ideas in the future.
How and when you give feedback is a critical part of the influence and participation process. You should include it in your planning from the beginning.
Where possible, try to give feedback in a way that’s appropriate to the activity and reflects the participant’s level of input.
For example, if someone has made the effort to write to you with their personal story or views, think about feeding back in writing, too.
Sometimes, the feedback you provide should be quite detailed. A user forum is an example. When forum members share ideas and make suggestions, these are often presented to heads of departments.
In response, those heads should be able to give comprehensive feedback about what action is and isn't being taken. They should present a verbal or written report explaining their decision.
General and routine feedback
When people have participated anonymously or in a more generic way – for example, by completing a survey, signing a petition, or e-mailing their MP – it’s appropriate to give standardised feedback, rather than personalised feedback directly to each participant.
You could include statistics from your survey, tell them what action you'll be taking as a result, or explain the impact of their involvement.
This general feedback could be through a newsletter, online, by email or on a noticeboard. You could respond to ideas people have posted in a comments box with a ‘You said, we did’ notice next to it on a regular basis.
You can also use this method when feeding back to people through e-mail or online. You can fill out and share our you said, we did template through e-mail or on a webpage. It's an easy method of feeding back after focus groups and discussions.