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It’s important to think carefully about how you want people to influence and participate in your work. Planning is an essential aspect of this.

Your plan needs to break down each activity you want to do, so you can think about it in depth.

Why is planning so important in lived experience work?

For people with lived experience, good planning leads to more meaningful and influential involvement. Planning can be the difference between participants taking part in a single activity, and feeling motivated to participate more often, or not taking part again.

Effective planning leads to more confident staff and better opportunities. This can build relationships that positively shape people's perceptions of your organisation.


Learn how to set out the scope and purpose of your lived experience work, and check out our resources to help you with scoping.

Managing expectations

Read how to manage people's expectations when they're taking part in your opportunity.


Check out our tips for communicating with people who are taking part in your influence and participation work.

Developing your opportunity

See our list of things to think about when developing a lived experience opportunity.

Recruitment and selection

See our tips for recruiting and selecting people to take part in lived experience work.


Learn how to effectively support people when they're taking part in influence and participation activities.

Valuing people

Check out our tips and resources for paying people who take part in lived experience work.

Diversity and difference

Learn why diversity and difference is so important in lived experience work.

Top tips

See our full list of top tips for planning your influence and participation opportunities.

Writing a policy

Learn how to write an influence and participation policy for your organisation.

Tools for planning influence and participation opportunities

Annual influence and participation planning

This tool can help you identify how people will participate in each stage of your work. It'll make sure people can meaningfully influence your work at the earliest opportunity.

Application form

This tool helps those interested to tell you about themselves. It will help you make informed decisions about who should take part.

Creating a group agreement

If you're asking people to join a focus group or discussion event, a group agreement lets everyone know where they stand and helps to create a safe space for openness and honesty. If you're setting up a regular forum, make sure you have some terms of reference to make sure people have clear expectations.

Defining and refining your opportunity

You can use this tool to quickly and robustly focus your team around the priority questions and methods that you will take into your influencing activity.

Developing your opportunity

To make sure you're taking everything into account when planning your activity, you might find this 'Developing your opportunity' template useful. It takes you through all the things you need to consider to promote your opportunity and attract the people you want to reach.

Identifying participants

You can use this tool to help you think about which audiences and specific groups you would like to take part in your work, the methods you need to use and who can help you do this.

Invoice for involvement

You could use this invoice template as a guide when paying people to be part of your participation activity or develop your own.

Managing risks

Use this tool to get five steps ahead of yourself and plan any risks that might present themselves.

Setting a good agenda

This tool can help you structure your agenda so that all participants are clear on the topics up for discussion and know what you expect of them.

Thinking about your timeline

Use this tool to situate your influence and participation activities into the bigger picture of your work. This will help you run meaningful initiatives that have the maximum level of impact.

Other ways to get involved

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