Plain speaking

This project led by the Democratic Society has been focusing on how to improve the mechanisms we use for consultation. But if we are going to involve and engage more people, we also need to change the words we use to talk about policy. Plain English is mandatory on the new GOV.UK website. The Government Digital Service has created a useful list […]

What I learnt at the Open and Collaborative policy making course

I recently attended a great course run by Civil Service Learning. The course covered new ways of thinking about policy development and was attended by colleagues from across government. As usual on courses, I learnt as much from the conversations as I did from the course content. In the days since, I’ve been mulling over […]

Playing games to open up policymaking

It’s all very well agreeing that policymaking should be open, but translating that commitment into real change involves at a least a few difficult, practical steps: there needs to be some leadership and HR support for individuals who want to try new approaches online, which is where Sir Bob Kerslake and the GDS guidance on […]

In an era of Open Policy, political parties need to embrace guerilla tactics to survive.

The open policymaking project is looking at methods of public engagement and participation in policy and what role digital technologies can play in the future. Historically, one of the major forms of public engagement in informing policy has been through the mainstream political parties. However, the main political parties are being eclipsed, especially from a […]

Calling Civil Servants: Open and Collaborative Policy Making Training Course

The Civil Service Reform plan and, open policy making in particular have sparked a lot of discussion both within and outside the Civil Service. I think these discussions are important and I’m really excited that more of them seem to be happening. Civil Service Learning (CSL) have put together some training courses on this topic, […]

Should there be a ‘duty to involve’ for national policy?

As Edward Andersson from Involve noted in his recent blog reviewing the new consultation principles issued by government: ”Today consultation has, for many citizens, become a byword for formalistic, tick box exercises, done to mask a decision which is already a ‘done deal’.” Edward rightly suggested that the new principles, while important, fall short of […]

Consultation can’t fix our broken politics – we need new ways to engage the public in policymaking

Is consultation broken – or is it our political system? Consultation seems to have become the lightening rod for general discontents about politics and policymaking. Let’s improve consultation – but let’s also rethink how we do policy and politics at the same time. In this Open Policy project with the Democratic Society in association with […]

Open policy is a challenge to government consultations – and an opportunity

More than 40 years ago the American sociologist Sherry Arnstein developed the ‘ladder of participation’ to represent the degree of involvement by citizens in decision-making. Arnstein’s levels range from ‘non-participation’ at the bottom of the ladder – at worse, the manipulation of citizens – to ‘citizen power’ and true citizen control at the top. One of the challenges […]