The aim of this document is to encourage and support good quality deliberative public engagement activities. Deliberative public engagement is a distinctive approach to involving people in decision-making. It is different from other forms of engagement in that it is about giving participants time to consider and discuss an issue in depth before they come to a considered view.
Deliberation itself – where a range of people learn, discuss and work out solutions together – is not new. Forums, advisory groups, partnerships and some forms of consultation have done this for years and are becoming increasingly sophisticated. More recently, citizens’ juries and large-scale citizens’ summits have found favour with government and public service providers at both local and national levels.
The authors believe that when done well, deliberative public engagement can help to create better public services, promote social cohesion and foster a thriving democracy.
The Nine Principles set out in the report are:
- The process makes a difference
- The process is transparent
- The process has integrity
- The process is tailored to circumstances
- The process involves the right number and types of people
- The process treats participants with respect
- The process gives priority to participants’ discussions
- The process is reviewed and evaluated to improve practice
- Participants are kept informed
The book has been produced by Involve, the National Consumer Council and Diane Warburton at Shared Practice as the lead author. The production of the principles was informed by a series of stakeholder discussions held between November 2007 and April 2008.