Marzena Young said that she had collated feedback from 56 completed forms received from the 76 delegates at the end of the conference. She circulated a written summary of her report and gave a short spoken summary. She had concluded that the feedback from the delegates was generally positive and ended by thanking Kate Connelly for chairing the conference and asked if there were any questions or suggestions from the group.
Brian Wilson suggested that the attendance of a representative from the European DG SANCO would be helpful at the next conference. A discussion followed on why no European representative had been able to attend in the past.
Brian Wilson added that the feedstuffs checklist handout from the first workshop had been extremely useful. Marzena Young accepted that the first workshop had been shortened, and was slightly rushed, but the group agreed that it had given everyone a good grounding in the subject.
The Chair suggested that a future selling point for the conference might be be that it provides people with practical aids.
Jackie Catterall said that Workshop 2 had been extremely useful and that all the delegates had derived some benefit from it.
Jacqui Angus commented that there had been a lot of information to take in and that a two-day event might be considered in future. She added that the practical sessions had been extremely useful.
Pauline Wilkinson suggested that feedback from the workshops could be reflected in a working document or training schedule for delegates in the future. She added that it had been a very good idea for the councillor hosting the conference to have a link to primary production.
The Chair suggested that a conference report should be produced and that there should be a session at the beginning of future conferences updating delegates on feedback from the previous one.
Brian Wilson asked Jacqui Angus what she thought could be the maximum number of interested potential delegates. A discussion followed on what the target audience of the conference should be. It was agreed that the criteria for selecting delegates should remain the same.
The Chair then asked the group for any ideas on the running of the following year's conference. Most agreed that the current conference format was successful, but that workshops could possibly be programmed on a rotational basis during the day, along the lines of the SFELC workshop sessions that had been held in April. It was agreed that presentations and workshops could be alternated to avoid just having presentations in the morning and workshops in the afternoon.
Marzena Young formally thanked Jacqui Angus for all her help on the day and for standing in for the UK office, who had had to give up their slot due to other work priorities.
It was suggested that an MP or MEP could be approached to speak, with the caveat that their diaries were always subject to last-minute alterations.
The Chair suggested that, next year, there could be a conference theme focusing on a single issue such as incident handling. A discussion followed on how this could be practically managed. It was suggested that the workshops could be interactive, with selected delegates being briefed to add new aspects to a scenario described at the start of the day; also that role play could be introduced to work through hypothetical situations. A vote was taken and it was agreed that it was a good idea, but that it should only cover one day and should not be too radical in approach. It was also agreed that the conference could adopt a format of formal lectures in the morning and an interactive workshop in the afternoon. It was suggested that external expertise could be drawn upon from within local authorities or externally, from conference organisers, to consider how this might be planned.
It was agreed that Marzena Young would send out letters of appreciation to the speakers at the 2009 conference.
Brian Wilson asked about dates and venues for the following year. It was suggested that the conference should perhaps be designed around particular speakers or themes. Jackie Catterall suggested that the group should wait until the FVO schedule had been released before deciding on dates.
The Chair concluded that plans for the next conference should be finalised at a future meeting of the group.