Braziers has developed a series of methods for meetings which are designed to allow everyone to state their ideas and feelings. Meetings are either ‘sensory’ or ‘executive’.
The purpose of a Sensory meeting is to explore, evaluate and gain understanding of matters concerning the community and its members, and sometimes wider social issues, but not to make decisions. A typical sensory meeting begins with silence, and continues with a ‘reporting in’ round. Each person speaks in turn and contributes what they feel is appropriate from personal experience. Interrupting, or otherwise breaking the discipline of the round, is considered unacceptable. This method enables the group to build its long term identity, to learn to trust each other and to gain support and courage.
When a decision is required, a body called the sensory committee discusses all the available aspects of issues to be decided, supplementing factual background with feelings, reactions and possible repercussions that would result from different choices. Its findings are reported to the Committee of Management.
Meetings of the Committee of Management are termed executive. These take place once a month, and decisions are made which take into account the results of discussions of the Sensory committee, which meets three times a month. Most of the time these decisions are reached through consensus.
If the Committee of Management is unable to agree on a matter, it is referred back to the Sensory Committee for further discussion and appraisal.
This dual system has formed the basis of the theory and practice of the governance of Braziers since its beginning in 1950. Instead of actions being directed by one executive body with overall power, the function of decision-making is shared by the two committees. This enables people with differing personalities and strengths to collaborate more effectively. It allows time for personal development and a chance for individuals to rethink their position, which increases the possibility of achieving a more integrated corporate view.