What is Gathering Views?

What is Gathering Views?

One of the ways we engage with people and communities is by gathering their views and experiences on a range of topics.

We speak to people about their lived or living experience on specific subject areas to inform the development of policy and services. Topics can be national or have a more regional focus, and we can engage with the general public across Scotland or with particular groups, for example people living with a certain medial condition.

Gathering Views work is not undertaken as formal research, nor as formal public consultation. It supplements work undertaken by Scottish Government or other commissioners, considers new or different ideas and makes recommendations based on the findings.

How we gather views

Gathering Views work focuses on getting rich and meaningful feedback from a diverse range of people, often focusing on engaging with people and communities that have not been heard before. Participation is fully voluntary and we use a range of methods to find the right people to engage with for each piece of work, for example attending relevant events, contacting relevant support groups or services and third sector, and through our local networks and social media.

Questions aim to understand people’s views, insights and experiences. We use a variety of methods to collect feedback, depending on the project’s objectives, including interviews and focus groups, done in person, online or by telephone.

As part of this work, we also collect equality monitoring information, such as information regarding sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion and ethnic group. Providing this information is optional but important. This information is anonymous and not linked to feedback. It helps us ensure we gather feedback from people from a range of backgrounds and contexts. When thinking of people’s experiences, it is important for us to hear from people with different characteristics and from different backgrounds, to help us understand their needs and potential barriers, taking into consideration health inequalities.

As with all our work, we are committed to inclusive communication and ensure that participants are supported as needed, for example by providing a BSL interpreter.

Feedback from Gathering Views work is anonymised. Key themes, findings and resulting recommendations are outlined in a report published on our website and publically available.

Timelines and turnaround of Gathering Views work can vary, depending on the scope and objectives of the work.

The key stages of the Gathering Views process are: 

  • Commissioning - agreeing the topic with the commissioning organisation
  • Planning - identifying participants and developing the questions
  • Fieldwork - asking members of the public for their views and experiences
  • Analysis - analysing the feedback from members of the public, identifying themes and developing recommendations
  • Reporting - final report and recommendations agreed and published

Why do Gathering Views matter?

This work gives us rich insight into important topics, and an understanding of people’s experiences and the barriers they may face to getting the health and social care they need. This work can also highlight areas for improvement and suggestions. Through this, Gathering Views work inform the development of policy and services, through our findings and recommendations to commissioners. When developing recommendations, we liaise with commissioners, as the topic experts, to ensure recommendations are appropriate.

Following the publication of our findings and report, including recommendations, we seek to identify any impact of our work by collecting information on impact from the commissioners, at 6, 12 and 18 months following publication.

All Gathering Views reports are published on our website.

If you are interesting in commissioning a Gathering Views piece of work, please get in touch.

If you are interested in participating in a future or ongoing Gathering Views piece of work, please tell us about your interests and how we can contact you.

Last Updated: 11 December 2023