#Openpolicy goes to Brussels

Yesterday I gave a talk to a group of staff at DG Connect in Brussels, as part of their Tuesday Conversations series, talking about Open Policy in the UK and projects such as NHS Citizen. Thanks to Prabhat Agarwal and Vessela Karloukovska for the invitation. What I said The slides I used are below. Open policy for optimists from The Democratic Society I mentioned six different things in my talk that I said I'd pass on links to. They were (and thanks to Mark for noting them down!): The report Pathways through Participation, by…Read more

Open Policymaking for Health: NHS Citizen

The Government are creating a Citizen Assembly within NHS England, so that health policy can be shaped and guided by citizens' voice. NHS Citizen will be a complete system that will listen to citizens via online and offline channels, curate conversation and debate, pulling in evidence, and formal bi-annual assemblies that will produce formal reports for NHS England. Simon Burall from Involve speaks about the project here:   There are times, very rare times, where a part of government decides that it needs to develop a new structure to give citizens more power to…Read more

Social listening in government – practical uses

We live in a data world and the predicted rate of growth is staggering. 73% of adults in Great Britain access the Internet every day, 53% of them do so using a mobile phone. The expectations of networked publics are different and demanding. Service Delivery Many businesses today now rely on monitoring social media to find out when and where their services are not functioning; simply it became an easier, faster route than relying on system auto alerts that have no context other than themselves.  Digital service design is particularly good for filling…Read more

Ethical considerations for government in social listening

There’s been a fair amount of discussion about the use of ‘social listening’ over the past few months, particularly surrounding the relationship between people’s use of Internet tools, the corresponding institutional capability through big data and advanced analytics to mine that usage, and the evolving privacy and ethical concerns. Social and ethical considerations move at a slower pace that technological possibility, corporate lawyers and people’s everyday usage of new tools leaving large pools of opportunity and questions in ethical positions. The purpose of these thoughts is to stimulate conversation. Broadcasting Social media platforms…Read more
What’s in a name, #openpolicy?

What’s in a name, #openpolicy?

I'm in the very grand surroundings of the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, about to run a workshop on open policy making for the senior BIS leadership team. However, you get the pre-release version... I've been thinking about the term "open policy". I understand where it starts from, and I also know it's the term we're stuck with, but I sometimes wonder whether it's quite the right one. A BIS director said to me a few weeks ago that they thought open policy making was just "good policy making" and I think there's a…Read more

What is the place of ‘Digital’ in Open Policy Making?

Digital tools are often mentioned as key to opening up policy making.  After all, they provide policy makers with powerful new ways of connecting with the people they serve.  But, as Simon Burall, Director of Involve, made clear to the Public Administration Select Committee, putting information on the internet won’t necessarily lead to greater engagement of the public with the policy making process. To achieve this, policy professionals need to understand their various stakeholders and the insights that they bring to policy making in order to identify the most appropriate way of involving…Read more

BIS Digital Engagement Case Study Series: Updating and simplifying consumer rights | digital@BIS

A great write-up of an interesting open policymaking collaboration between teams at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, opening up a policy consultation about consumer rights to a wider audience through clear language, active outreach and straightforward methods to respond: We knew that the core stakeholders – those with a specific interest such as consumer rights groups and large retailers – would respond to the consultation, but we wanted to go wider. What about individual consumers? What about small retail businesses?Read more

Why Policymakers Ignore Evidence

Great post here (from just before the summer break) on the twelve reasons why politicians don't listen to evidence, written by Gerry Stoker at Southampton. Snippet here, but go and read the post for the list. One common rationalization offered by those that suffer the experience of being de facto ignored (notwithstanding some lip service that might be paid to the importance of evidence especially if the work is commissioned by policy makers) is that policy makers, especially politicians are driven by perverse incentives that lead them to embrace ignorance rather than the…Read more

5/20? Depth options for consultations

I like this consultation by the Italian government, on constitutional reform. It's a technical issue, so they've provided two options - a five minute questionnaire, and a twenty minute one. The five minute questionnaire says: "You don't need to be an expert to respond, but we recommend you read the glossary of terms" The twenty minute version says: "This questionnaire goes into greater depth. It requires a slightly deeper level of understanding than the first questionnaire, but it is still open to all".Read more