Deliberative Forum: firming up our understanding of how Family and Group Conferences (FGC) for adults work

Crowndale Centre, Camden – Thursday 7th September 2023

In the Deliberative Forum, we invited a range of people with knowledge and experience in relation to Family and Group Conferences to check out and take forward our emerging understanding of how FGCs for adults’ work, and what differences they can make in people’s lives.  Most importantly, this included people with experience of having a conference, as well as co-ordinators, managers and those who may refer people to FGC services.

During the forum, we shared both, what we thought we know from our analysis of the literature, results from a national survey and stakeholder interviews, and what we had identified as key questions where we needed to understand things better.   We asked participants to deliberate on these questions in small groups.  Out of this, we will distil our current best understanding – or Programme Theory – as to how FGCs work.  In particular we were interested in

  • Describing and characterising the practice model for adults’ FGCs
  • What sorts of positive outcomes (for people and their networks) may be achieved through having FGCs
  • How FGCs work in an adults’ context and what ingredients lead to successful outcomes
  • For whom FGCs may work best and in what situations – including how applicable and acceptable they may be in different cultural and social contexts.

We have summarised what we think we already know and captured the collective wisdom that came out of our deliberations in the Report of our discussions – and we also have a selection of short videos as people fed back from their groups.

We will develop and test out or initial Programme Theory for FGC for adults in the next stage of our research by tracking the experience of a sample of people and their networks across our different research sites.

Here is the full report – Family and Group Conferences for adults – Summary report of Deliberative Forum process

If you would like to contribute your thoughts or feedback, please email Sharanya Mahesh on or join the discussion on our online forum by subscribing to Jiscmail- You can set up an account by simply clicking on the link provided. This platform is also used to connect with others who are interested in FGCs for adults, initiate discussions on relevant topics or to ask questions relating to FGC research and practice.

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