Statistics, evidence and #openpolicy (#bsbd event)

Some very quick reflections on the UK Statistics Authority’s seminar on Better Statistics, Better Data, which took place this morning. It gave me a slight sense of déjà vu from conversations a decade or more ago – statistics are hard to understand, most people don’t understand them (or trust them), and there are significant priming effects […]

Whatever happened to open government and open policy? A scorecard

After being elected Prime Minister in 2010 David Cameron committed the UK to having “the most open and transparent government in the world.” Alongside this, the Government’s civil service reform plan published last year promised to “make open policymaking the default”, recognising that Whitehall itself does not have a monopoly on expertise. Here’s a brief – inevitably partial […]

Participation: Young lazy optimists, old active cynics

Skimming through the data tables from the Community Life survey released by the Department for Communities and Local Government today, and there is an intriguing set of numbers around civic participation and feeling that you are able to influence issues in your area. About four in ten people think that they can influence decisions in […]

Consultation overload

Government consultations don’t stand on their own – they compete in a marketplace of political engagement opportunities national, local, formal and informal. An interesting snapshot of how crowded that marketplace is comes from Brighton & Hove, where the strategic partnership have undertaken an audit of all “significant or major” consultation activity planned across the local […]

Who cares?

My latest post is up at the Solace Summit website. Here’s how it begins: My last post here talked about petitions, and complained how ineffective they are as a way of understanding public opinion and seeking democratic support for action. Here’s a reasonable challenge to that view: petitions (and by extension opinion polls and tick-box consultations) are […]