Food safety

Birgitt Williams birgitt at
Mon May 14 18:26:59 PDT 2001

Dear Anne,
I think the topic of reports--their clarity to those who did not attend the
session but would like a well done summary of what took place, as well as
often time far reaching implications of what is included in the reports is
of consequence within what we do with Open Space Technology meetings. I
agree with Harrison in terms of getting the reports up on to the wall as
quickly as possible and asking all to pay attention and to see their
"recorder" if reports require changing before they make it into the book of
proceedings. This is difficult regarding the reports entered at the end.
There is also a problem when all in the group agree with the report but it
has inaccuracies of the type you mention. This could be somewhat offset by
how you develop and then communicate the "givens" for the meeting.

I have been in circumstances that were politically "hot" with the media
getting hold of reports regarding organizations that were already receiving
bad press. I have been in other circumstances where comments were recorded
that had employment and thereby legal implications. I have been in
circumstances where the governing Board of an organization read and
misunderstood the reports (that were poorly written) and ended up in a
situation of negative repurcussions to the staff involved and most
particularly to the Department Head. I have been in other situations where
resources were allocated based on the reports and those that were poorly
written did not fare well.

I have a real respect for the written word, for communication, and how
easily it is misunderstood. When I facilitate an OST meeting, I work with as
much clarity as I can regarding the "givens" for the reports, including the
need to write knowing they are not confidential and knowing the circulation
can and likely will be wide.

Respectfully for the good work that you do way over on the other side of the

Birgitt Williams of Dalar International Consultancy
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-----Original Message-----
Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2001 6:41 PM
Subject: Food safety

Hi there,

I'm looking for some advice - I'm sure as soon as I've sent this
email off the answers will be obvious, but for the moment I need your

I've been contracted to facilitate an open space forum for our food
regulator as a basis for developing a dialogue about the NZ food
safety programme.  Given the topic and the people passion won't be a
problem!  There have been some other meetings of this group with
mixed success.

One of the critical issues of concern about the forum is the accuracy
and validity of the statements made by participants during the forum.
There have apparently been occasions when statements have been made
about the safety and consequences of some products and processes,
that latter have been found not to be accurate or true.  However in
the meantime a whole lot of work got done on these areas that was not
in the end valuable or necessary.

I recognise that sometimes false starts lead to new discoveries
however I am wondering if here is anything that I could do in the
preparation of the forum that would focus on the validity of

Your thoughts would be welcome.


Anne Pattillo
Anne Pattillo Consulting Ltd
PO Box 683
New Zealand

Telephone 0064 4 473 2702
Fax       0064 4 473 2703

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