evaluated with respect in the same way as other ideas. It is important that each individual can see their own contribution in the record of the meetings.
Participants should be aware that rational thought, respect and acceptance of opinions will tend to be challenged or obscured when discussing issues which are emotive, or issues which have attracted significant media or political interest. Efforts should be made if this happens to restore the desirable climate of mutual respect and cooperation.
Ensure a regular feedback mechanism is in place to inform and improve current and future stakeholder engagement processes
When engaging with stakeholders an opportunity should be provided for both the stakeholders and those responsible for the process to give feedback on the approaches and tools used and on the outcomes. This serves to inform and improve ongoing processes as well as influencing how future processes should be conducted. The following types of criteria might be included in the evaluation: appropriateness of the terms and timing of engagement, the quality and appropriateness of the information provided; comprehensiveness of the issues that were addressed; inclusivity in terms of the number and diversity of stakeholders involved and the nature of that engagement; practicability and feasibility of the eventual outcomes.
Stakeholder engagement commonly involves a series of meetings, discussions and other types of face-to-face encounters. These provide continuous learning opportunities to be discussed by the group at the end of each meeting, whereby agreements on improvements in the management of subsequent meetings are agreed. It should be recognised that implementation of changes may require additional resources and so any improvements agreed upon must be realistic and achievable.
When a stakeholder engagement process comes to an end, it is important that those responsible for the process make the results known to all those who participated. If these results do not reflect the recommendations or findings from the stakeholders, those responsible must offer an explanation to the stakeholders for any deviation from what was agreed. In this way, the feedback of results and decisions will help to maintain confidence in the process.
Tangible improvements in stakeholder engagement resulting from the establishment of a constructive feedback mechanism will contribute to a more sustainable process, which could serve as a role model for future engagement. Dissemination of the lessons learned, achievements and how challenges can be met should be carried out as widely as possible among the radiological protection community.