St George’s House hosts some 60 consultations annually. There are three distinct strands: Social and Ethical Consultations; Clergy Consultations; and Consultations programmed by external groups and organisations in keeping with the ethos and practice of the House.
As regards the latter, we welcome enquiries from organisations or groups who wish to use the House for such events.
What we offer
St George’s House, set within the grounds of Windsor Castle, provides a secluded, comfortable and relaxed environment where people can think and speak freely about key issues facing contemporary society. Think of the House as a physical and intellectual space where topics that matter can be dealt with by people who can make a difference. We invite our guests to work hard while they are with us but also to enjoy the historic surroundings, to partake of Evensong and to experience a guided tour of St George’s Chapel. Our accommodation within the Castle grounds is comfortable and our food is fast acquiring a reputation for excellence.
Who can take part?
Participation in our programme is by invitation. A typical consultation will bring together a range of people who can make a genuine contribution to the discussion, often representing opposing points of view. We welcome people of influence, people in leadership positions, people from right across society. We strive to be representative whether in age, background, race, religion or occupation. All our guests are equal under the banner of the consultation. They are people knowledgeable about the topic, prepared to argue cogently and listen carefully. We take considered advice when putting together a consultation precisely so that we can make the event as focused, dynamic and useful as possible.
A chance to take risks
A St George’s House consultation is not primarily about reaching consensus, welcome though that is, but what we seek above all is high-quality disagreement. We want people to be forthright, to think the unthinkable. We look to participants to argue their case and hear other points of view, to persuade and be persuaded. We ask anyone coming to the House to be prepared to reflect deeply on the various opinions expressed and to have the courage to admit that long-held views might be wrong. A participant at a St George’s House consultation should be prepared to change his or her mind and certainly to leave us better informed about the topic under discussion. In that way we can properly nurture wisdom through dialogue.
What happens afterwards?
A consultation is a process. Networks are established, friendships made, knowledge and understanding acquired. Much of what can be achieved is not measurable but nonetheless has a life beyond the time-span of the consultation. More tangibly, many of our consultations will result in a report summarising the discussions and outlining the conclusions. Such reports are only written with the agreement of the participants. The St George’s House Protocol ensures that all opinions are non-attributable and we ask participants to respect this protocol in the wider world. Any consultation reports will be available on our website.