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's Citizens and Science programme is developing more effective ways for citizens to be involved in the development and application of scientific and technological innovations. It aims to ensure that technological innovations continue to contribute to the growth of our economy by meeting the real needs, hopes and desires of the public.
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Relaunching Sciencewise

Blog March 3, 2017 – Simon Burall

We are delighted to announce that we have been selected by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to run the Sciencewise programme for the next two years, until April 2019. Over the 11 years of its existence, Sciencewise has positioned the UK as the world leader in engaging publics, scientists and stakeholders…

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Government data and public benefit

Blog January 25, 2017 – Simon Burall

We are delighted to announce a major new partnership between the Carnegie UK Trust and Involve. We will be working together in three local authority areas to build a better understanding of how different groups (government, civil society and advocacy groups) make sense of, and balance, the trade-offs inherent in data sharing, specifically between 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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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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Democracy Day @ Imagine!

Blog February 16, 2017 – Tim Hughes

As part of the Northern Ireland Civic Activism programme, we are supporting The Building Change Trust's Democracy Day - a day long programme of events at the Belfast Imagine Festival on democracy in Northern Ireland. When: 24th March 2017 Where: The MAC, 10 Exchange Street, Belfast, BT1 2LS Register: via Eventbrite   Democracy Day We are living in turbulent times for…

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Introducing the Open Government Partnership’s new Participation and Co-creation Standards

Blog February 10, 2017 – Tim Hughes

Over the past year, Involve has been working with the Open Government Partnership to develop new Participation and Co-Creation Standards. From this point forward, these will be used by all OGP countries when developing, implementing and monitoring open government action plans. In the post below - written with Paul Maassen from the OGP and first published on the…

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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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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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Calling local areas: do you want to host our project on youth mental health?

Blog March 23, 2017 – Sarah Allan

Involve and our project partner, Leaders Unlocked, are looking for four local areas in England, Wales or Scotland to participate in our project on youth mental health, MH:2K. Why get involved? MH:2K aims to provide decision-makers with vital information about how to improve local mental health prevention, support and services. It works by connecting decision-makers with local…

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No space for the public on Brexit? Why parliamentary committees should up their game

Blog March 21, 2017 – Sarah Allan

Last week I went to University College London’s Brexit at Westminster seminar. After a wide-ranging discussion, the final question of the day was the most interesting. It asked how parliamentary committees are intending to engage the public around Brexit. The most striking answer came from Baroness Falkner, Member of the House of Lords’ EU Select…

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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 worked with Leeds Beckett University and various partners across Europe to deliver a project that aimed to help small and medium-sized businesses to be more sustainable and resilient. Part of the EU's Lifelong Learning Programme, the project was funded with support from the European Commission. It used deliberative engagement methods to engage business leaders in developing…

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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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