When Citizen Engagement Saves Lives (and what we can learn from it)

Originally posted on DemocracySpot:

When it comes to the relationship between participatory institutions and development outcomes, participatory budgeting stands out as one of the best examples out there. For instance, in a paper recently published in World Development,  Sonia Gonçalves finds that municipalities that adopted participatory budgeting in Brazil “favoured an allocation of public expenditures that closely matched the popular preferences and channeled a larger fraction of their total budget to key investments in sanitation and health services.”  As a consequence, the author also finds that this change in the allocation of public expenditures “is associated with a pronounced reduction in the infant mortality rates for municipalities which adopted participatory budgeting.”

Evolution of Expenditure Share in Health and Sanitation compared between adopters and non-adopters of PB (Goncalves 2013).

Evolution of  the share of expenditures in health and sanitation compared between adopters and non-adopters of participatory budgeting (Goncalves 2013).

Now, in an excellent new article published in Comparative Political Studies, the authors Michael Touchton and Brian Wampler come up with similar findings (abstract):

We evaluate the…

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Petition for a National Council –A process to ensure participatory democracy after the Scottish referendum

I’m one of the many supporters of the non-partisan civic petition for a National Council to lead the process of involving citizens in shaping the future of Scottish democracy after the referendum.

You can see details about the petition, and sign up, by following this link.

scotland flagThe proposal is not a case either for or against independence, but a way forward towards a more participatory democracy. In the event of a Yes result, we will need a process to establish the terms for the negotiation with the rest of the UK, as well as a blueprint for a constitution-making process. In the case of a No result, we will still need a process to negotiate further devolution and establish the parameters of a more empowered Scottish democracy within the UK.

In both scenarios, our proposal seeks to avoid  elite-driven decision-making and put citizens at the heart of politics and democratic life.

Want to know more? Click here.

This proposal is not intended as a case either for or against independence, it is a proposal in favour of a participatory Scotland. It focuses on issues which may arise very quickly and may have to be addressed equally quickly in the event of a Yes vote. However the participatory process it outlines represents an approach to decision making which would represent a leap forward in democratic decision-making irrespective of whether there is a Yes or No vote. – See more at: http://nationalcouncilscotland.org/#sthash.P2RHrSyY.dpuf

This proposal is not intended as a case either for or against independence, it is a proposal in favour of a participatory Scotland. It focuses on issues which may arise very quickly and may have to be addressed equally quickly in the event of a Yes vote. However the participatory process it outlines represents an approach to decision making which would represent a leap forward in democratic decision-making irrespective of whether there is a Yes or No vote. – See more at: http://nationalcouncilscotland.org/#sthash.P2RHrSyY.d

This proposal is not intended as a case either for or against independence, it is a proposal in favour of a participatory Scotland. It focuses on issues which may arise very quickly and may have to be addressed equally quickly in the event of a Yes vote. However the participatory process it outlines represents an approach to decision making which would represent a leap forward in democratic decision-making irrespective of whether there is a Yes or No vote. – See more at: http://nationalcouncilscotland.org/#sthash.P2RHrSyY.dpuf

Wee Play: The Scottish Referendum Game-Changer

Help So Say Scotland to crowd-source this great tool for citizen deliberation. More information HERE.

From centre to community – Reclaiming local democracy

Venue: Playfair Library, Old College, University of Edinburgh

 

Book a place by clicking HERE.

Democracy Max

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Democracy Max was a 13 month long citizen led inquiry into ‘what makes a good Scottish democracy’. Having analysed the findings, ERS Scotland now plans to hold a Convention on Scottish Democracy to discuss how we can make some of the aspirations of Democracy Max become reality.

The Democracy Max process has given us lots of experience and insights and we have decided that our focus should be on the extension of democratic power to a really local level, and to suggest ways that democracy can operate best when people have power in their own towns and communities.

Together with the Academy of Government at the University of Edinburgh, we are holding a day long deliberative discussion event focussed on finding campaign objectives for improving Scotland’s local democracy.

The day will also be about networking, relationship building, planning collaborations and creating synergies in order to create a strong campaign to reclaim local democracy.

We are inviting experts, academics, practitioners, advocates and critics to present ‘evidence sessions’ which will then be debated and discussed in facilitated deliberative format in order that the evidence can be thoroughly examined and future actions proposed.

People's Gathering

Click HERE for more information.

Course on dialogue, deliberation and facilitation skills

Beltane Public Engagement NetworkMaking Conversations Count

24th and 25th March 2014

http://tinyurl.com/BelConvMar14

This is the 16th time that Wendy Faulkner and I deliver this course for the Beltane Network. The focus is on public engagement practice in research and policy contexts, with particular attention to dialogue, deliberation and facilitation skills.

The course is very hands-on,  using several techniques and providing many opportunities to practice. It’s also a great chance to meet people from various fields, and who are interested in how dialogic communication can make a difference.

We hope you may join us!

Reid Foundation calls for a revolution on how governments involve publics

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‘Government by the People’, the Final Report of the Commission on Fair Access to Political Influence, is now out.

 

It makes for a stimulating read -full of ideas about how to improve Scottish democracy.

Check it out HERE.

What are Mini-publics?

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Stephen Elstub and I have written a brief for the Reid Foundation about deliberative mini-publics and their potential use to involve citizens in policy and decision making.

 

See the brief here (from page 12 onwards).

 

 

 

 

Democracy Max: an inquiry into what makes a good Scottish democracy

Over the last year, the Electoral Reform Society has involved citizens, researchers and opinion-makers in a much-needed deliberative process to consider what a good Scottish democracy might look like.

PPN’s Citizen Participation Network has been a partner in this exciting journey, and we’re pleased to share the final report of the process. The report is packed with thought-provoking ideas and will inform the ERS’s forthcoming campaign to improve democracy in Scotland.

Review of our course ‘Creating impact through dialogue’

Review of our course ‘Creating impact through dialogue’

Delighted to have received this review of the course for public engagement practitioners that Wendy Faulkner, Heather Rea and I have co-delivered over the last few years. Please click the link above to see it.

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