Understand an informed, mainstream view

There is an information divide between what is easily available to those in decision making roles and what is available to the general public.

Leaders have considerable resources to commission analysis, expertise or science on problems and receive advice accordingly.

This information is critical to making sound decisions , but it is rarely available to the general public or where it is, it is hard to find.

Given this, communities and citizens generally form opinions about the merits of a particular policy proposal from government or business without access to the information used by those who developed it. The result is that the response provided by the public amounts to a gut reaction based on the individual’s own personal bias and nature of the impact on the individual (and understandably so).

It is easy to hear the views of the community at a point in time but what is harder is to understand the views of the community once they have been exposed to the debate on an issue and have more information.

We run processes to help communities to understand the critical information that they need to know in order to form an informed view. There is an information divide between what is easily available to those in decision making roles and what is available to the general public. Leaders have considerable resources to commission analysis, expertise or science on problems and receive advice accordingly. This information is critical to making sound decisions, but it is rarely available to the general public or where it is, it is hard to find.

Given this, communities and citizens generally form opinions about the merits of a particular policy proposal from government or business without access to the information used by those who developed it. The result is that the response provided by the public amounts to a gut reaction based on the individual’s own personal bias and nature of the impact on the individual (and understandably so).

"This process was a great learning experience for me. I learned lot more about government process, citizens juries and so much more. I learned how to become a more active citizen and to think more critically about political and controversial issues."
Juror, Dog & Cat Management Jury 2015

The only way to address this is by arming people with information and supporting them to critically analyse it.

Traditional focus groups and some consultation processes fail to recognise the complex set of interactions and interventions that ultimately help to form individual and community views. “Cherry picked’ information by moderators or facilitators often doesn’t reflect the diversity of views that people are exposed to in a real world situation. The approach to data collection in traditional focus groups also risks being influenced by the researcher.

The processes we run create a microcosm of how issues are considered in real life. We bring together diverse members of the community, give them time to consider issues, enable them to access a diverse range of perspectives and support them to deliberate on and document their own views without influence.

We also have mechanisms for involving large numbers of the community in the discussion without them needing to attend meetings. We use online tools and we work through community networks to bring large numbers of the community into the conversation where this is appropriate.

Get Involved

Are you interested in how our democracy works? And want to help be part of making it work better? Register to be part of our Deliberative Army, all committed to working with government to develop public policy.