Sometimes discussions in tenants and residents' associations wander off the point. It’s not easy to stick to the point, but it is necessary if you want to arrive at clear decisions.

Here is a checklist of steps to go through to help you reach decisions systematically.

D - Define  Define the problem. Try to keep this clear and simple.

E - Explore Bring together the hard facts. If you’re not too sure whether something is correct, don’t bank on it being correct. Check it out.

C - Clarify  Make sure that everyone in the group has and understands the information.

I - Ideas     Think as widely as possible about the different ways to solve the problem. To do this well, you must be quite clear what you want to achieve.

D - Decide  For each option you considered you should think through what might result if you adopted it. Having generated alternative ways to proceed, you must select the one to go for. Is it the result you wanted? You may decide to have a vote on alternatives. In small groups this is not usually the best way to proceed, it is better to talk it through trying to reach a consensus about what to do.

E - Enact   Who will carry out the decision? Decide and do it! Has it produced the result you wanted? What is the next move going to be?