Our work

Citizens for public services

Citizens for Public Services focuses on public service reform and on strengthening the voice of citizens in debates around service provision. The programme builds and expands on Involve’s work in the health sector, where we have delivered successful deliberative engagement programmes for the NHS and Clinical Commissioning Groups – as well as on our work in social care, transport, and education.
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Open prisons?

Blog October 20, 2016 – Simon Burall

Prisons are, in a very obvious sense, closed institutions. For the prisoners at least they must be, playing as they do an important role for society; both punishing those who commit crimes by depriving them of their freedom, and also supporting rehabilitation and ultimately preventing reoffending. But they are closed in another sense too; it…

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New project launched: supporting better consultation in Lanarkshire

Blog June 23, 2016 – Simon Burall

Involve, working with our associate Diane Beddoes, is providing support to NHS Lanarkshire for the public consultation around their new draft Healthcare Strategy. This new strategy, developed by NHS Lanarkshire in partnership with North and South Lanarkshire Councils, is designed to improve the provision of health and social care in Lanarkshire and improve the health outcomes for the…

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Sharing patient records: what do citizens say?

Blog May 19, 2016 – Sophie Blake

Patient records contain sensitive personal information, but they can also provide valuable insight to people who are working to improve healthcare provision. Deciding who should be able to access patient records and how is inevitably a complex issue and one that health authorities have been grappling with for a while. It won’t be a big…

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

Blog April 27, 2016 – Simon Burall

"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…

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Newsletter April 2016: Improving the transparency of government consultations…

Blog April 22, 2016 – Sophie Blake

Involve's most recent newsletter is available to view online In this Newsletter: Open contracting: Kaela reflects on open contracting in the UK Schools and the expert delusion: Simon argues for the expertise of parent governors Boaty McBoatface vs. a beach towel: Sophie looks at when public engagement goes wrong Event: Addressing the Public Engagement Deficit in…

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Citizens & science

Involve is strengthening public voice in science and innovation policy through the Sciencewise and Engage2020 projects. These are working to ensure that citizens are able to influence and take key decisions on complex and controversial issues around science and technology, so that policy-making is properly informed by the views and values of the public.
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Why don’t we trust the experts? |

Blog July 5, 2016 – Simon Burall

This post explores research that suggests the reason experts aren't trusted is as much to do with whether the expert is judged to have our best interests at heart or not. Which means that experts are less likely to be trusted “by people who feel alienated from them.” Visit the site

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Down with economists! Citizens don’t need you!

Blog July 1, 2016 – Simon Burall

I spoke at the launch of the RSA’s Citizens’ Economic Council on Wednesday. The topic of the debate was ‘Can Citizens be Economists?’ The context for the launch was obviously the debate leading up to the referendum last week, the challenge to the role of experts, most infamously by Michael Gove, and the challenge from…

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Can citizens be economists? Simon Burall talks at the RSA

Blog June 30, 2016 – Harry Farmer

Involve's director, Simon Burall, spoke on a panel as part of the Royal Society of the Arts' event 'Can Citizens be Economists?' The event was to celebrate the launch of the Citizens' Economic Council, a programme to engage 50-60 citizens from across the UK in conversations about economic policy. In his speech, Simon argued that citizens can…

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Brexit, science and public involvement

Blog June 28, 2016 – Roland Jackson

As the scientific community reels from the referendum result and its possible consequences, it may seem strange to focus on public involvement, which is so often an afterthought in science policy circles. Yet if there is one lesson from last Thursday, it is that those whose voices are not normally heard have been heard loud…

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Sharing patient records: what do citizens say?

Blog May 19, 2016 – Sophie Blake

Patient records contain sensitive personal information, but they can also provide valuable insight to people who are working to improve healthcare provision. Deciding who should be able to access patient records and how is inevitably a complex issue and one that health authorities have been grappling with for a while. It won’t be a big…

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Open government

Involve is working with civil society and government in the UK and internationally to make government more transparent, engaging and accountable. We coordinate the UK Open Government Civil Society Network and are piloting models of open policy making.
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Beyond Buzzword Bingo: opening up the language of Open Government

Blog December 16, 2016 – Kaela Scott

Open Government has its own buzzwords – open data, transparency, accountability, participation, scrutiny, anti-corruption, freedom of information, open contracting, digital commons etc. Just like any other policy community this shared language unites those involved, but from the outside it can appear to set a somewhat technocratic and procedural agenda. As someone relatively new to the…

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Open Government: The global context and the way forward

Publications December 12, 2016 – Tim Hughes

Involve has contributed a chapter - "The role of citizens and civil society in open government reforms" - to a new OECD book - Open Government: The global context and the way forward - launched at the 2016 Open Government Partnership global summit in Paris. The report provides an in-depth, evidence-based analysis of open government initiatives and the challenges…

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#ogp16 - 2016 Open Government Partnership Global Summit

#ogp16 – What we’re doing at the 2016 Open Government Partnership Global Summit

Blog December 5, 2016 – Tim Hughes

This week, Simon, Kaela and I will be at #ogp16 - the Global Open Government Partnership Summit in Paris. The summit brings together 3,000 representatives from more than 70 countries, including Heads of State, government ministers, mayors, civil society representatives, public servants, members of parliament, developers, researchers, and journalists. This will be the fourth OGP Summit, following previous ones held in Mexico…

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Open prisons?

Blog October 20, 2016 – Simon Burall

Prisons are, in a very obvious sense, closed institutions. For the prisoners at least they must be, playing as they do an important role for society; both punishing those who commit crimes by depriving them of their freedom, and also supporting rehabilitation and ultimately preventing reoffending. But they are closed in another sense too; it…

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People & participation

Involve’s People & participation programme examines how to reconnect the public with politicians, decision-makers and political institutions. We take a three-pronged approach: working from the top down with political institutions, from the bottom up with the public, and building the evidence base for what works.
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Beyond Buzzword Bingo: opening up the language of Open Government

Blog December 16, 2016 – Kaela Scott

Open Government has its own buzzwords – open data, transparency, accountability, participation, scrutiny, anti-corruption, freedom of information, open contracting, digital commons etc. Just like any other policy community this shared language unites those involved, but from the outside it can appear to set a somewhat technocratic and procedural agenda. As someone relatively new to the…

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Bringing public voices into parliamentary business

Blog November 30, 2016 – Kaela Scott

Last week I had the opportunity to speak to the Commission on Parliamentary Reform, at the Scottish Parliament, about opportunities for widening and deepening public participation in parliamentary processes. This independent Commission was set up in October 2016 to look at how Parliament can engage better with the people of Scotland and how its work…

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Introducing MH:2K Oldham’s Expert Panel

Blog October 10, 2016 – Sarah Allan

MH:2K is a new project which empowers young people to explore mental health issues and influence mental health decision-making in their local area. We are currently piloting MH:2K in Oldham. Find out more.   Today is World Mental Health day. And so it seems an appropriate date on which to announce MH:2K Oldham’s Expert Panel.…

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Scotland

Involve is working in Scotland to develop, design and facilitate high quality participation processes that, building on the momentum already established across the country, will contribute to realising a culture of deeper democratic engagement in all aspects of Scottish public life.
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Beyond Buzzword Bingo: opening up the language of Open Government

Blog December 16, 2016 – Kaela Scott

Open Government has its own buzzwords – open data, transparency, accountability, participation, scrutiny, anti-corruption, freedom of information, open contracting, digital commons etc. Just like any other policy community this shared language unites those involved, but from the outside it can appear to set a somewhat technocratic and procedural agenda. As someone relatively new to the…

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Bringing public voices into parliamentary business

Blog November 30, 2016 – Kaela Scott

Last week I had the opportunity to speak to the Commission on Parliamentary Reform, at the Scottish Parliament, about opportunities for widening and deepening public participation in parliamentary processes. This independent Commission was set up in October 2016 to look at how Parliament can engage better with the people of Scotland and how its work…

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Opening the lid on Open Government in Scotland

Blog August 30, 2016 – Kaela Scott

One of the key challenges for the Open Government Network in Scotland is opening up the open government agenda to wider civil society, in ways that encourage open government to be understood as a movement for change, rather than a technocratic process. All too often the language associated with Open Government (data, open-contracting, anti-corruption, scrutiny…

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Democratic Participation in a Citizen’s Europe: What Next for the EU? – School of Law and Social Justice – University of Liverpool

Blog March 9, 2016 – Josephine Suherman-Bailey

A collaborative conference bringing practitioner experience and academic research together to assess, discover and develop citizen involvement in EU public policy. Thursday, 5 May 2016 University of Liverpool Foresight Centre – Liverpool, England As the European Union faces multiple crises, this timely event will explore current challenges and future opportunities for enhancing the participation of…

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Past projects


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Using deliberative engagement to make small businesses more sustainable

Published: January 6, 2014

Involve is working with Leeds Beckett University and various partners across Europe to deliver a project that aims to help small and medium-sized businesses to be more sustainable and resilient. Part of the EU's Lifelong Learning Programme, the project is funded with support from the European Commission. It will use deliberative engagement methods to engage…

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Review of Research Councils UK dialogues

Publications January 3, 2014 – Ingrid Prikken

Research Councils UK (RCUK) commissioned Involve to conduct a review of RCUK dialogue and consultation exercises in order to identify what could be learnt more generally about public perspectives on emerging science and technology. The Research Councils have a good deal of experience of public dialogues. Various independent dialogues have been conducted around major RCUK…

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Envisioning the library of the future

Publications January 2, 2014 – Tim Hughes

Involve and Dialogue by Design (DbyD) were commissioned by the Arts Council England (ACE) to explore with citizens the purpose and value of public libraries. Over the course of September Involve ran a series of deliberative workshops across England and an online consultation to gather people's views – as citizens and taxpayers – on what…

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EU future energy mix scenarios

Publications May 24, 2012 – Ingrid Prikken

Involve has been commissioned by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) to carry out a study on “Future national energy mix scenarios: public engagement processes in the EU and elsewhere”. Involve worked in partnership with Dr. Paul Dorfman from Warwick University who is Senior Researcher Global Energy at Warwick Business School (WBS) and Joseph…

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Creative Councils

Published: January 23, 2012

Involve was commissioned by NESTA to provide community engagement support to councils participating in the Creative Councils programme. Creative Councils is a programme from NESTA, working with the Local Government Group, to support local authorities to develop and implement radical innovations that meet the challenges of tomorrow. Involve provided support to three Creative Councils projects:…

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