When public meetings go wrong…. they can make a bad situation so much worse Perry’s recent blog for The Consultation Institute is republished here with permission. The Institute is asking for examples of public meetings. Sometimes we can learn more from worst practice than from best practice, so I thought I’d share this nightmare. Our story begins over ten years ago, in the village of Wing. Wing is in Buckinghamshire, between Aylesbury and Leighton Buzzard, […]

“Perry’s recent blog for NESTA on ‘Can small-scale deliberative events have legitimacy?‘ is republished here with permission” As part of Nesta’s Everyone Makes Innovation Policy programme, Talk Shop and Thinking Box collaborated on a project to get people talking about driverless cars. We created a discussion kit – a deck of cards providing information and raising questions – and used this to facilitate discussions about the topic with different groups of people. We make the […]

Reposted with permission from the Consultation Institute: I take as my text, as the preachers, say, an extract from a recent TCI article called ‘Why DEFRA’s waste consultations matter; we are ALL stakeholders now!’ In it, Rhion Jones asked, “are there sufficient attempts being made to have deliberative sessions with the large number of stakeholder types that matter? And can we not involve civil society more – whether it is the Women’s Institutes, youth bodies […]

Reposted here with thanks to The Alternative UK. A/UK has featured Citizens Assemblies many times. We believe they have a lot to offer, though we have some concerns (see this blog).. However, our friends at Talk Shop suggest Citizens Assemblies could be extended. They argue that Citizens Assemblies don’t fully address the widespread desire to ‘Take Back Control’. Not everybody has a chance to participate. But what if anyone could join in these sessions? And send in their comments […]

In a second blog on handling conflict Perry Walker looks at how we might do things differently. Reposted with thanks to the LGIU. In my previous blog, I gave a couple of examples of conflicts in communities that were handled badly. In one case there was a public meeting, which made things worse, while in the other there wasn’t any sort of meeting at all. In this blog, I’m going to suggest better ways to […]

Perry Walker writes: The ‘democracy sector’, define it as you will, has not been able to lay a glove on the Brexit brawl. The 2017 Citizens Assembly on Brexit, organised by the Constitution Unit at UCL and others, was a noble effort, but I detect little impact. Commons in Wonderland This is little surprise. My own website, Open Up, helped people work out what they thought about the referendum – but there were far fewer […]

Surely we can handle conflict better? Part one Reposted with thanks from the LGiU where this was originally published. The divisions created and made worse by Brexit clearly demonstrate a gap in the way we run things, writes Perry Walker. For really heavy duty conflicts we have arrangements for mediation, conflict resolution, arbitration, counselling and so on. But there are many conflicts, which stop way short of physical violence, that are nonetheless extremely distressing for […]

Reprinted with permission from the RSA. The RSA’s Matthew Taylor recently discussed deliberative democracy with David Runciman, professor of politics at Cambridge University. Matthew emphasised the form of deliberative democracy, a citizens’ jury or ‘ assembly, which parallels the legal jury and aims to bring together a ‘mini-public,’ representing a cross-section of the rest of us. Their conclusion on chosen issues is the one that the rest of us would have come to had we […]

By Perry Walker. Reprinted, with permission, from OpenDemocracy. Conversations across divides are very hard, but they’re essential to democracy. On the first day of October 2018 I did something I’d never done before: I went to the UK Conservative party conference in Birmingham. The theme of the event I attended was ‘Chuck Chequers’ – a reference to Prime Minister Theresa May’s controversial plan for Brexit. It was organised by the Bruges Group, which takes its […]

Reprinted with permission from the RSA. In his 2018 annual lecture, Matthew Taylor called for at least three national citizens’ assemblies to be held each year on key current challenges facing the UK. Perry Walker FRSA explores how to make that a success. Government – legislature and executive – resists change. This means that a step change in deliberative democratic approaches cannot just be bolted onto our present system. Rather, we need to understand that […]