Evidence Hearing – Participatory and deliberative democracy, including the use of digital

Monday 25 November, 10:45am - 4:15pm
  • Free

Residents of the London Borough of Newham are invited to the first of the public hearings taking place as part of the Newham Democracy Commission. Residents will have an opportunity to listen as the Commissioners hear evidence from a number of experts on participatory and deliberative democracy, including the use of digital.

Structure of the day:

10.45am – 11:30am – Individual witness

Tim Hughes, Involve

During his time at Involve, Tim has advised national, devolved and local governments in the UK on designing and facilitating effective participatory processes. He has overseen and co-lead facilitated large deliberative processes, including the Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit and Citizens’ Assembly on Social Care. He has led the UK Open Government Network, including through developing two open government action plans with the UK government. He has worked with multilateral organisations – including the OECD, Council of Europe and Open Government Partnership – to improve the practice of participation and open government globally. And he has researched and written on topics including public participation, open government and democratic reform.

11:45am – 1pm – Commission deliberation and discussion

1pm – 2pm – Panel 1: Deliberation with results

The purpose of this 2-person panel is to explore the fundamentals of deliberative processes and to understand how these translate into practice – ie, how deliberation can help a public body to better deliver its priorities.

Graham Smith, University of Westminster 

Graham’s research focuses on three areas – the one with most relevance to the Commission’s work is on participatory democratic systems – the way that institutions should be developed for citizen participation. Graham has worked on the Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit (funded by the ESRC); Graham also participated in the 2015 Democracy Matters citizens’ assemblies on devolution. Graham also researches more traditional advisory councils (funded by the Spanish Government).

Claire Spencer, West Midlands Combined Authority (joining via Skype)

WMCA have put “inclusive growth” at the heart of how they want to do business in future. WMCA defines inclusive growth as “about a more deliberate and socially purposeful model of economic growth – measured not only by how fast or aggressive it is but also by how well it is shared across the whole of the population and place”. Understanding what this means in practice, for individuals and communities, requires developing a nuanced sense of the area. WMCA has entered into a range of conversations with civil society in the area to understand these issues; a challenge for a strategic authority covering a wide geographical area.

2pm – 3pm – Individual witness

Ben Fowkes, Delib

Ben has a long background in civic tech, with a focus now on building digital democracy infrastructure to improve and change how day to day democracy is run. Fundamentally, Delib helps government to run effective consultations. It operates a number of products – Citizen Space, Simulator and Dialogue – designed to effect this aim in different ways. Simulator is particularly interesting as a digital platform for deliberative prioritisation. It allows people to set priorities to understand the tradeoffs and impacts between different preferences.

3pm – 4pm – Panel deliberation and discussion

4pm – 5pm – Panel 2: Political culture

Julian McRae, Engage Britain (formerly of the Institute for Government)

Engage Britain has yet to formally launch. It is a project focused on bridging divides to find solutions to complex problems (ie, focusing on deliberation and dialogue to understand and act on these challenges).

In previous roles, Julian was at the Institute for Government, where he worked on spending across Government and government effectiveness in general; he is an expert in national policymaking.

Henry Tam, Question the Powerful

Henry’s “Question the Powerful” project is a part of his more general academic role (he is currently Associate Fellow at the Crick Centre, University of Sheffield, having formerly worked at the University of Cambridge and Birkbeck).

Henry has written extensively on politics and society and has had a particular focus on how people can develop a critical mindset to evaluate and sift evidence to enable us to deliberate and discuss policy solutions to complex problems.

How to Attend

If you have any questions about attending please contact us by email.

Stratford Library

3 The Grove, Stratford , London, E15 1EL

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