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[liberationtech] UK Guardian's Live Discussion on How to Consult w/ Citizens

Yosem Companys companys at
Fri Nov 9 14:21:52 PST 2012

From: Tracey P. Lauriault <tlauriau at>

In July, the Cabinet Office published new
how consultations will be carried out in future, highlighting two
particular changes: departments will follow a range of timescales rather
than defaulting to a 12-week period; and the expectation is that
consultations would be "digital by default" ie. conducted electronically.

 In December, Oliver Letwin, minister for government
will appear before the Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny
measure how the proposed legislation is working in practice. But we can't
just digitise the existing narrow process, says Anthony Zacharzewski, one
of the founders of Demsoc. <>

 "Despite the guidance, the real experience of being consulted is pretty
most cases, there is a list of questions that you are invited to answer,
either by ranking items or filling in freeform text. The citizen gets
frustrated trying to fit what he wants to say in to a narrow
question-and-answer format", he said.

 Nadhim Zahawi MP, chief executive of YouGov, cautioned at an Institute for
Government event,<>
the UK is notoriously poor at citizen feedback and that data collection
should be simple to get the largely silent majority to share their
experiences. Mike Harris, the chief executive of Guerilla

 "It is the natural corollary of open data and transparency, allowing
public participation at every stage of decision-making and implementation",
he said. Guerilla Policy, in collaboration with
Demsoc,<> the
Cabinet Office, and Involve, <> have started a
six month project to chart how civil service reform plans for open policy
making <> will
become the "default".

 Our live online discussion, which takes place between *12pm-2pm* on*Friday
16 November,* aims to unlock the issues behind digital consultation and to
share tips on the best way to run one.

 *We want to know:*

• Will this new approach to consultation lead to improvements in the
process and outcomes?

• What does the best consultation and open policy making look like today,
and what tools are available that government can use to meet its goals?

• Do those working in the public sector have the skills to deal with the
amount of feedback they could receive from armchair evaluators?

• What are the best international examples of open policy making?

• Under what circumstances is it reasonable for the government to decide
not to consult on policy development?

• When - and for how long - should consultation exercises be held?

• There is the expectation that consultations would happen digitally - how
will this impact on different groups in society?

 Come and join our discussion, or send us your questions or thoughts ahead
of the debate. You can email us at public.leaders at or tweet
us @publicleaders <>. Please email
kathryn.dobinson at to be considered for the expert panel.

 *• To respond to this, or any other article on the Guardian **public
leaders network* <>*, email
public.leaders at You must be **a
*of the network to submit articles for publication.*

 *• For the latest public leadership updates, follow us on

 *Why not join our community? Becoming a member of the Guardian **public
leaders network * <>*means
you get sent weekly email updates on policy and leadership. You can sign up
- for free - **online
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