Over the last couple of months, the Building Change Trust has been highlighting different formats of and tools for local public engagement. On this blog we’ve already linked to their articles on Citizen Juries and the 21st Century Town Meeting, but they’ve described several others as well. A few of the recent tools profiled include:
A Deliberative Poll combines public opinion research with a process of learning, dialogue and deliberation. It can be used to examine issues where there is a low baseline of public knowledge or information. . . The process often impacts the views of members of the public who go through it, thus providing an indication to decision makers of what the views of the wider population might be, were they provided with a similar chance to deliberate.
As a budget will tend to belong to a local council or other statutory body and can range from a neighbourhood level up to a city or national level budget, this method will involve citizens and decisions makers working together to determine where resources should be spent. The process can also contribute to a more engaged, educated and empowered community.
Participatory Card Games – This is a new idea to me, but seems like something that could be useful particularly in building capacity for public engagement, perhaps incorporated into something like the dinner series hosted by The Village Square:
Participatory card games such as Democs (Deliberative meeting of citizens) enable small groups of citizens to learn about and debate complex issues. . . As well as asking participants to express policy preferences, the Democs process was designed to support learning and deliberation around a specific issue, and to enable the sharing of experience and values between participants.