“How to put the consumer first” is a guide for staff at the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on how to engage with the agency’s consumers. It was produced by Involve, working closely with FSA staff.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is the UK Government’s independent body for protecting public health and consumer interests in relation to food.
Involve began working with the FSA when it was developing a new model for consumer engagement in order to build more effective links with both individual consumers and wider society.
The project built on the FSA’s existing initiatives to engage consumers, to ensure these formed part of a broad programme of activity and learning, involving all parts of the organisation.
The handbook aimed to support the improvement, dissemination and professionalization of engagement practices within the FSA.
The guide supports FSA staff to run effective consumer engagement at every level of the organisation, by outlining consumer engagement options available to FSA staff in a clear and practical way.
Involve used a range of methods to develop the guidance, drawing on the existing knowledge and experience of FSA staff as well as information from other sources.
The methods used included a survey of 43 FSA staff, interviews with six staff members from across the organisation, an overview of current external research on consumer and stakeholder participation, and examination of FSA project reports and evaluation reports.
Involve used these sources to determine:
• The FSA’s existing knowledge and experience of consumer engagement, including material for case studies that could be used in the guidance
• FSA staff members’ approaches to and understandings of consumer engagement
• Gaps in knowledge and skills
• Approaches and technologies available
• What FSA staff wanted from the guidance
Involve drew on this knowledge to produce guidance that was tailored to the needs and aims of the FSA.
The project delivered a consumer engagement handbook for FSA staff which:
• Makes the learning from previous consumer engagement initiatives available to all staff in a clear and accessible format
• Outlines the key principles of consumer engagement
• Includes a planning tool with questions and issues to consider at each stage
• Lists a range of possible engagement approaches and their strengths and weaknesses and gives case studies showing these approaches in use
• Is practical and easy to use
Build skills and capacity of participants
Gather individual pre-existing opinions
Generate new ideas (innovation)
Number of participants
Representatives of wider interest groups (stakeholders)
Level of awareness and interest
participants know about some aspects/can roughly articulate some interest
Environment and climate change
Health and well-being
Limit search to...
... face to face processes
Level of involvement