Will the Government rethink its approach to consultation?

This project led by the Democratic Society on open policy making has been focusing on how to improve the mechanisms we use for consultation. While it might not have made (m)any headlines, a recent House of Lords report strongly challenged the Government’s new guidance on consultations and has confirmed the concerns of many organisations which have been following these developments closely. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]