In this episode I speak to three academics who each take a critical perspective on the operation of deliberative mini-publics. Each of them takes issue with a different aspect of the impact or influence that the recommendations coming from deliberative mini-publics have on public policy.
And Roslyn Fuller provides another perspective suggesting that citizens may change how they approach decision-making within a deliberative mini-public depending on whether they believe their recommendations will be implemented or not.
This is the final episode of Season 1 looking at deliberative mini-publics. If you haven't already listened to episodes 1 - 18 I'd suggest you go back and listen to them all, starting with Professor Carson explaining what deliberative mini-publics are in episode 1.1.
Season 2 will look at the history of democracy, the dominant model of representative democracy, as well as what is working and what isn’t.
Season 2 will commence in mid-March. I hope you'll join me then.
I ask each of them how their frameworks apply to deliberative mini-publics and they provide quite different assessments of the value and effectiveness of deliberative mini-publics as democratic innovations.
Professor Smith's framework identifies four democratic goods:
Professor Geißel's analytical framework comprises five criteria:
As you can see, there are some similarities between these frameworks. However, the conclusions each person draws about the value and effectiveness of deliberative mini-publics is quite different.
In next week's episode (the final one for Season 1) I talk to three other academics who take a critical perspective on the operation of deliberative mini-publics:
I hope you'll join me then.
In today's episode I speak with four everyday people who have been participants in deliberative mini-publics in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Each person has their own unique take on being a randomly selected participant in a deliberative mini-public, but they all agree they would recommend being part of a deliberative mini-public to family and friends.
First up is Ben McPeek who was a member of the Residents’ Reference Panel for the Davenport Community Rail Overpass project in 2015. This Reference Panel was commissioned by Metrolinx and designed and facilitated by MASS LBP. I spoke to Peter MacLeod from MASS LBP about their work on episode 6 of the podcast.
Next, I spoke with Lewis Adams who was a juror on the Infrastructure Victoria Citizens’ Jury in 2015. Infrastructure Victoria was developing a thirty-year infrastructure plan for the State of Victoria in Australia and ran a multi-faceted engagement program which included two concurrent citizens’ juries: one in the capital - Melbourne and the other in Shepparton in regional Victoria. Lewis was a juror on the regional Citizens’ Jury. The Infrastructure Victoria Citizens’ Jury process was designed by the newDemocracy Foundation and involved a range of facilitators (including some of the people who I spoke to on episode 11 of the podcast) under Nation Partners who were responsible for delivering the overall engagement process.
I also spoke with Caroline Victor who was a juror on the Cats and Dogs Citizens’ Jury in South Australia in late 2014. This citizens’ jury was established by the Dog and Cat Management Board to advise on measures to reduce the number of unwanted dogs and cats. This process was facilitated by DemocracyCo, whose co-founder Emily Jenke I spoke to on episode 10 of the podcast). Recruitment for this citizens’ jury was undertaken by the newDemocracy Foundation. I was working for newDemocracy Foundation at that time and managed the recruitment for this citizens’ jury. The Dogs and Cats Citizens’ Jury won the IAP2 Australasian Core Values Award in the environmental category in 2016.
Professor Fishkin developed the idea of deliberative polling in 1998 since then deliberative polls have been held in over 24 countries and once in 22 languages simultaneously. Professor Fishkin holds the Janet M. Peck Chair in International Communication at Stanford University where he is Professor of Communication, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Deliberative Democracy.
Deliberative polls have been designed to provide the conditions under which people can think about an issue and decision-makers can see how those people's views change as a result of this process. The conditions Professor Fishkin identifies as optimal include:
A confidential survey is administered before and after the face-to-face meeting with the same questions in both plus some evaluation questions in the post-process survey. Generally, participants' policy positions will change significantly as a result of being exposed to information and having their questions answered. Professor Fishkin and others' research suggests that people become more 'public spirited,' making decisions based on the needs of the community rather than themselves. Fishkin sees deliberative polling as providing what Mills called 'schools of public spirit.'
Professor Fishkin provides many examples of deliberative polls and their outcomes. One involved eight deliberative polls across Texas on energy futures which lead to Texas moving from the last place in 1996 to first place in 2007 in the US for the use of wind power.
In next week's episode, I will be talking to four everyday people who were randomly selected to participate in deliberative mini-publics in the UK, Canada, and Australia. I hope you'll join me then.
The G1000 arose in Belgium out of frustration with the inability of the political parties in Belgium to form a government. The G1000 began in 2011 and had three broad phases:
Unlike many of the other deliberative mini-publics we've heard about in earlier podcast episodes the G1000 was explicitly about agenda setting by citizens rather than providing advice to elected representatives on a topic those representatives have chosen.
A short overview of the G1000 process and outputs can be found on Participedia.
Didier Caluwaerts is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the VUB. His research interests include deliberative and participatory democracy, social, democratic and public sector innovation, social entrepreneurship, innovation management and cooperative governance. He recently set up a lab experiment with professor Michael MacKenzie (University of Pittsburgh) on deliberation and long-term thinking regarding environmental policy.
He was previously a post-doctoral researcher of the FWO at the VUB. His PhD (2011, VUB) dealt with deliberative democracy in divided societies. It was awarded the 2012 ECPR Jean Blondel PhD award and it was nominated for the Annual PhD Prize of the Dutch and Flemish Political Science Associations. He is also the winner of the 2010 ECPR Dirk Berg-Schlosser award, and co-organizer of the G1000 citizens' summit (2011).
In next week's episode I'll be talking to Harm van Dijk one of the people who has taken the G1000 to the Netherlands.
Each of these facilitators has over 20 years experience working with communities and all of them are award winning facilitators of deliberative mini-publics.
With the growth in popularity of deliberative mini-publics there has been a increased demand for people to facilitate these processes. In today’s episode I speak to two such people - Emily Jenke from Democracy Co in South Australia and Titus Alexander from Democracy Matters the UK.
Emily Jenke has been facilitating community engagement processes for nearly years, most recently moving into supporting deliberative processes. Emily was in the midst of facilitating one of Australia’s largest deliberative mini-publics with 350 people considering the future of nuclear fuel storage in South Australia when we did this interview.
Titus Alexander is a facilitator, educator and community capacity builder. Titus trained the other facilitators for the two Citizens’ Assemblies that Professor Graham Smith described in Episode 8. He is also the author of Practical Politics: Lessons in Power and Democracy a text book on learning practical politics, which is aimed at encouraging students and lecturers to develop political skills to create a more inclusive, empowering democracy.
Professor Graham Smith from Westminster University was part of a number of academics who designed and ran the Democracy Matters project in 2015. This project involved two Citizens' Assemblies both considering devolution of local decision-making.
In addition to being demonstration projects around engaging everyday citizens in decision-making about local governance these two process involved slightly different designs to allow the academics involved to test the impact of having elected representatives as part of the Citizens' Assembly.
Graham explains the background to these two Citizens' Assemblies as well as the preliminary findings about the impact of having politicians as members of the Citizens' Assembly South.
For more information about the Democracy Matters project visit http://citizensassembly.co.uk/home-page/about/
The newDemocracy Foundation is a is an independent, non-partisan research organisation here is Australia that aims to identify improvements to our democratic process with a focus on promoting deliberative mini-publics as a key democratic reform.
Iain Walker is the Executive Director of the newDemocracy Foundation and has designed and managed over twenty deliberative mini-publics for local and State Governments in Australia.
Iain explains the approach newDemocracy Foundation takes to the design of deliberative mini-publics generally and also sets out the example of the Melbourne People's Panel a 43 person deliberative mini-public, involving both residents and businesses, which advised the City of Melbourne Council on their 10-year budget.
The newDemocracy Foundation makes all of their deliberative mini-public designs public on their website and recently designed and managed one of the largest citizens' juries in Australia, the South Australian Nuclear Citizens' Jury.
Peter MacLeod is the CEO and Founder of MASS LBP, a Canadian consultancy focused on democratic innovation and public strategy.
Since 2007, MASS has led some of the country's most original and ambitious efforts to engage citizens in tackling tough policy choices while pioneering the use of Civic Lotteries and Reference Panels on behalf of forward-thinking governments.
MASS LBP has conducted twenty-five major reference panels, citizens assemblies and commissions for government involving more than 1000 Canadians and reaching 250,000 households. Cumulatively, this represents some 30,000 hours of deliberation on significant public issues, making MASS an internationally-recognized and unparalleled leader in the design and delivery of deliberative processes for government.
Peter lays out how MASS approach the design of the reference panels they conduct including how they explain the purpose of these processes, how the invitations are designed and the size of the groups.
He also takes us through a couple of processes they have conducted from the Residents’ Panel to Review the Condominium Act a multi-year process to update this piece of legislation to a hyper-local issue with Grandview-Woodland Community Plan Citizens’ Assembly.
And in case you were wondering LBP stands for Lead By People.
Deliberative mini-publics are a popular form of democratic innovation around the world. In today's episode I talk to a range of people to get their perspectives on what is behind this popularity.
Professor Graham Smith is a Professor of Politics in the Centre for the Study of Democracy, in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster in London.
Professor Janette Hartz-Karp, from the Sustainability Policy Unit at Curtin University in Western Australia. Janette is renowned nationally and internationally for her innovative work in community engagement and deliberative democracy.
Luca Belgiorno-Nettis, the founder of the newDemocracy Foundation in Australia. The newDemocracy Foundation is an independent, non-partisan research organisation aiming to identify improvements to our democratic process with a focus on promoting deliberative mini-publics as a key democratic reform.
Peter McLeod, the Principal and Founder of MASS LBP a consultancy focused on democratic innovation and public strategy. Since 2007, MASS has led some of the country's most original and ambitious efforts to engage citizens in tackling tough policy choices while pioneering the use of Civic Lotteries and Reference Panels on behalf of forward-thinking governments.
Emily Jenke is the co-founder of Democracy Co a consultancy that works with governments, business, not-for profits and local communities to help them make better decisions together that improve the quality of people's lives.
Helene Landemore is an A/Professor of Political Science at Yale University. Her research interests include democratic theory and theories of justice.
Her book Democratic Reason: Politics, Collective Intelligence, and the Rule of the Many, was based on her PhD research in which she demonstrated that decisions taken by the many are more likely to be right than decisions taken by the few.
Helene is currently working on another book about post-representative democracy, a hopefully not too distant future, where democratic innovations are implemented and truly change the nature of the relationship between citizens and their representatives.
Professor Carson is a world renowned expert on deliberative mini-publics, having researched, designed and run them as well as training others in how to engage with citizens through dialogue, deliberation and engagement.
Carson is passionate about improving how democracy works. Carson would like to see Australia leading the way in democratic reform, perhaps by setting up a Citizens' Senate, providing a real exemplar for others to adopt.
Real Democracy Now! a podcast is for people who think we can and should do democracy better.
In this podcast I talk with experts, practitioners, change agents and everyday people about how democracy works and how we might do it better.
Real Democracy Now! a podcast looks at democracy from different angles to help you think more deeply about democracy and identify the ways you think it could be improved.
The first season of Real Democracy Now! a podcast, will look at deliberative mini-publics, often called citizens’ juries, which are a very popular democratic innovation around the world.
If you want to know what deliberative mini-publics are listen to Episode 1 where I talk to Professor Carson, a world renowned expert on these type of innovations.