Simon Burall


Simon Burall is the Director of Involve. He has long and extensive experience in the fields of democratic reform, open government, public participation, stakeholder engagement, accountability and transparency, scientific and technology innovation and organisational change. He has worked at the local and national level in Africa, Asia and Europe as well as on related issues of global governance and democracy.

In his role with Involve, Simon has worked with and advised many organisations including Number 10, the Cabinet Office, the Scottish Government, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Department of Health, the Department for Energy and Climate Change, NHS England, the UK Civil Society Network on Open Government, UNDP, OECD, the World Bank, the European Economic and Social Council, as well as at local level with numerous local authorities and other public bodies.

Simon has published extensively on issues related to democracy, participation, accountability and transparency.

Simon is currently a member of the Public Engagement with Research Advisory Panel for Research Councils UK and a Fellow WWF UK. He was Head of Dialogue and a member of the Programme Board for Sciencewise between 2012 and 2016, and a member of the Steering Committee from 2010-2012.

He was a trustee and member of Council for Voluntary Services Overseas from 1997-2007, and a Trustee and Chair of Democratic Audit, 2008-2014.

Before moving to Involve Simon was a Research Fellow at ODI from 2006 – 2009. His interests included stakeholder engagement in the reform of the international aid delivery system and the effectiveness of development finance. Prior to this he was the Executive Director of the One World Trust from 1999 – 2005 where he initiated and oversaw the development of the influential Global Accountability Index. Simon has taught English in Namibia and science in Zimbabwe, and was an election monitor in Bosnia Herzegovina after the Dayton Agreement.

Simon has a BA in Natural Sciences and a PGCE from Cambridge University, and an MSc in Development Studies from SOAS.

Associated programmes

Blog posts


Scientific Infantilism

May 10, 2016

This recent article in the Telegraph* about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement is an interesting read for many reasons. In examining the impact of globalisation on the working class it draws the clear conclusion that we must rebalance our societies away from free-trade at all costs and back towards strengthening Parliamentary democracy.…

Read moreAdd a comment


Science, Society and Engagement – an e-anthology

May 6, 2016

Science, Society and Engagement is an e-anthology published by Involve to capture learning from the Engage2020[i] project on public engagement in research and technological innovation across Europe. There is a growing acceptance worldwide that engaging citizens in dialogue about issues that affect them improves the quality, legitimacy and sustainability of policy and decision making.  In response…

Read moreAdd a comment

Sciencewise logo

ScienceWise Sounding Board Report – Low-carbon Heating Technologies

May 4, 2016

  In February 2016 ScienceWise undertook a public dialogue project for the Committee on Climate Change to help them gain a better understanding of public views and concerns relating to low-carbon heating technologies. The dialogue was delivered using ScienceWise’s new on-line engagement tool the Sounding Board. This is a tool is designed to bring small…

Read moreAdd a comment

ViviCam 6300

Methods, Methods everywhere… Engage2020 Action Catalogue

May 2, 2016

The Engage2020 Action Catalogue is an online tool designed help researchers, policy-makers and others wanting to engage with the public on technical or scientific issues to find the method best suited to their needs. In Science, Society and Engagement (an e-Anthology published as part of the Engage2020 project) one of the conclusions the authors draw…

Read moreAdd a comment


Public consultations do not currently enable all stakeholders to effectively contribute to the legislative process | British Politics and Policy at LSE

April 27, 2016

"In a recent study, Helen Taylor and Axel Kaehne looked at responses to the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill to consider how effective the public consultation process is at incorporating wider expertise into the legislative process. The findings highlighted a number of issues relating to both the nature of responses and the way in…

Read moreAdd a comment


Schools and the expert delusion

April 15, 2016

There is a belief, prevalent in most, though thankfully not all, parts of government that ‘ordinary’ members of the public are incapable of contributing to and making most of the decisions that politicians and civil servants have to make. Instead, the belief is that experts are are the only ones capable of making effective decisions;…

Read more1 Comment

carving of judge, Quinn Dombrowski

Evidence and the jury

February 3, 2016

As I said in my last two posts, I’ve been a juror on a crown court case for the last two and a half weeks. In this third post in a series of three, I reflect on whether my experience as a juror has taught me anything that might improve the contribution of participants in…

Read more2 Comments

Dieu et mon droit, Elliot Brown

What’s it actually like being a juror?

February 2, 2016

As I said in my last post, I’ve been a juror on a crown court case for the last two and a half weeks. In this second post in a series of three, I reflect on whether my experience as a juror has taught me anything that might improve the contribution of participants in deliberative…

Read more2 Comments

scales of justice, Michael Coghlan

What jury service taught me about public engagement

February 1, 2016

I’ve been a juror on a crown court case for the last two and a half weeks. The case is over and I want to reflect on whether my experience as a juror has taught me anything that might improve the contribution of participants in deliberative public engagement processes that we run. This post ended…

Read more2 Comments

Page 1 of 1312345...10...Last »