North of England’s Docs A Handbook for Consensus Decision-making

Consensus decision­making is a creative and dynamic way of reaching
agreement between all members of a group. Instead of simply voting
for an item and having the majority of the group get their way, a
consensus group is committed to finding solutions that everyone
actively supports, or at least can live with. All decisions are made with
the consent of everyone involved, and this ensures that all opinions,
ideas and concerns are taken into account. Through listening closely
to each other, the group aims to come up with proposals that work
for everyone. Consensus is neither compromise nor unanimity – it
aims to go further by weaving together everyone’s best ideas and key
concerns – a process that often results in surprising and creative
solutions, inspiring both the individual and the group as a whole.
At the heart of consensus is a respectful dialogue between equals. It’s
about how to work with each other rather than for or against each
other – it rejects side­taking, point scoring and strategic
manoeuvring. Consensus is looking for ‘win­win’ solutions that are
acceptable to all, with the direct benefit that everyone agrees with
the final decision, resulting in a greater commitment to actually
turning it into reality.

Published by Seeds for Change