The random selection of participants to represent a community is a central concept behind good deliberative practice seeking to get beyond those who will turn up because they have a very strong interest in the issue. Random selection of the community helps the convener of the process to get an informed view from a diverse group in the community – not just the polarised views of those who feel strongly. There are many ways this random selection process can be achieved. We work out the the best mechanism for our client given the budget, timeframes, objectives and size of the project.

One of the great joys of our work is connecting with the diverse people we get to meet through our deliberative projcesses.

SA Power Networks Deliberative Panel

We recruited 20 plus customers from SA Power Network’s database of people interested in electrical outages to participate as part of an Elecctricity Advisory Panel. 5000 invites were sent to a random sample of the database and we had over 200 people register an interest in being part of the process. We then randomly selected the final panel, that in broad terms reflected the South Australian energy user population.

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Community Based Sentencing – Attorney General, South Australia

We recruited the Community Advisory Panel from a 70,000+ thousands person database. Invites were sent to 2,200 people from which a random sample was determined reflective of the South Australian population. Respondents were also asked why they were interested in getting involved – to get a mix of those interested in sentencing / justice issues and those interested in broader democratic / civic participation

19 people were selected to be part of the Community Advisory Panel. The panel was asked – What’s important to you about how we rehabilitate offenders outside prison to enhance community safety?

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SA Murray Darling NRM Board Deliberative Panel

As a Board member on the SA Murray Darling Natural Resources Management Board, Emily has been supporting the organisation for the last 8 years to embed deliberative practice into their work. In November 2015, the Board was challenged with a significant budgetary dilemma which was as the result of changes in the way government manages Water Planning in SA. This dilemma forced the Board to make a change to the levies – which all South Australians pay towards the management of natural resources. Not wanting to increase costs to the community, the Board (under Emily’s expert advice as a Board member) designed a deliberative panel process to garner attitudes towards potential increases.




What ensued was a highly sophisticated region wide conversation led by Max Hardy and Danielle Annells – sharing the dilemma of reducing programs, keeping the work going or significantly amping up effort. democracyCo also conducted the recruitment of the panel of about 60 people – from the largest ever recruitment we’ve ever undertaken! Over 10,000 people were invited to attend across a region with a population of 125,000 people using multiple datasets.

NRM Deliberative Panel Outcomes

Reforming Democracy: NRM Deliberative Panel Engagement Page

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