Published on August 12, 2014

When public dialogue is a bad idea

By Simon Burall

Simon Burall is a Senior Associate of Involve. He has extensive experience in the fields of democratic reform, governance, public participation, stakeholder engagement, and accountability and transparency.

How can public support for controversial and sensitive policies be understood and tested? Are referendums better or worse than polls and surveys? Can deliberative processes provide governments with clearer answers?

A recent government response to a consultation suggests that deliberative processes might be the best way to gauge public support. I explore whether this is a good or bad idea in this Sciencewise post.

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