Citizens' Jury

We are Citizens' Jury experts. We are unique in that we are experienced and able to run the entire process from “end to end” internally - including recruitment & event management.

What is a Citizens’ Jury?

Decision-making about complex problems is often dominated by experts and special interest groups, with processes that don’t encourage the participation of the general public.

A Citizen jury is one way to address this by incorporating the views of the community into decision-making. Citizens’ juries provide an opportunity to learn how the community think about an issue when presented with detailed information about the matter. democracyCo are Citizens’ Jury Consultants.

Citizen juries have been so named because of their apparent similarity to a legal Jury in Australia, where a group of citizens reflecting a cross section of the public comes to a decision. However, in many way a citizens’ jury is distinctly different to a legal Jury. 

Citizens’ juries do not pitch different sides against one another, do not rely on a consensus among Jury members and rather than a guilty or not guilty finding, the Citizens Jury proposes a series of recommendations, considering how different points of view might best be combined.

In another difference to a Jury in a court of law, A citizens jury has the ability to incorporate into their deliberations values, ethics, societal norms and trade-offs. This helps to enrich the citizens’ jury decision making, and arrive at sensible, logical outcomes.

One interesting feature of a citizens’ jury is that they have typically resulted in considered and moderate recommendations that successfully blend competing claims and help reconcile antagonistic groups.

One interesting feature of a citizens’ jury is that they have typically resulted in considered and moderate recommendations that successfully blend competing claims and help reconcile antagonistic groups.

A citizens’ Jury:

  • brings together a representative sample of randomly chosen citizens that matches a profile of the community at large using selected criteria;
  • provides a forum in which the Jury can consider how best to deal with an issue of public importance;
  • takes place over a number of days during which the Citizens Jury is given detailed balanced information about the issue, hears a wide range of views from expert presenters (or ‘witnesses’), and is able to question the presenters as well as seek out any additional information they might want;
  • is organised in consultation with an advisory committee (and sometimes an additional stakeholder reference group), which is responsible for ensuring the integrity and credibility of the project and the high quality of witnesses, as well as the ‘take-up’ of Citizens’ Jury recommendations;
  • has a specialist facilitator who supports the Citizens’ Jury by managing group dynamics to ensure that everyone has a fair say, the Jury gets the information it needs and that it fulfils its terms of reference;
  • deliberates in a variety of formats such as small group discussion, brainstorming, consensus building and full Citizens’ Jury deliberation; and
  • concludes with the Citizens ‘Jury preparing a report which records its recommendations and any dissenting points of view

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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.

Citizen’s Juries

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“…we as a society need to ensure our democracy is alive, vibrant and representative of our citizen’s values, morals and culture.” Marcel, Nuclear Juror

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Compulsory Third Party Insurance in the ACT

democracyCo designed and delivered the ACT governments’ very first Citizens’ Jury on Compulsory Third Party Insurance.

About 285,000 motor vehicles are registered in the ACT each year and the existing CTP scheme does not cover everyone injured in a motor vehicle accident. It can also take up to two years or longer to get a full payout after an accident. Despite these gaps, the ACT has among the most expensive premiums in the country. The Citizens’ Jury has considered this issue with the community and other key stakeholders, and recommended a scheme that best meets the needs of all road users.

The Jury completed its work on the 25th March 2018. Its report can be found here.

The ACT government website contains a lot of information about the issue, process and the outcome.

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Nuclear Jury #1

June/July 2016

In 2016, The South Australian government considered the opportunity to store and dispose of the worlds high level Nuclear waste. democracyCo facilitated the first Citizens Jury in June/July 2016. This Jury of 54 people analysed the Nuclear Fuel Cycle’s Royal Commission Report and highlighted the issues that need to be discussed and resolved in the community.

Learn More


Nuclear Jury #2

October/November 2016

In late 2016, approximately 350 Jurors met to consider the question – In what circumstances (if any) could South Australia pursue the opportunity to store and dispose of nuclear waste from other countries? You can read more about this process and the process we ran at:

Learn More


Reducing the numbers of Unwanted Dogs and Cats

In late 2014, democracyCo designed and facilitated a large scale citizens jury for the South Australian Dog and Cat Management Board. Major reforms were underway to curb the huge increases in unwanted pets, and the Environment Minister, wanted community policy designed around key reform objectives. 35 South Australians were selected to be part of the Jury. The Jury sat for 5 sessions over a 2 month period.

The Dog & Cat Citizens Jury was supported by a Core Reference Group – who oversaw the process and assisted in providing the Jury with balanced evidence. This group included:

  • The Dog and Cat Management Board
  • The Deratment of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
  • The RSPCA (SA)
  • Animal Welfare League
  • Local Government Association (SA)
  • The Australian Veterinary Association (SA/NT Division)

The Jury’s report can be found here.

democracyCo have also developed a presentation which details why the Dog and Cat Jury was so successful.

The Advertiser: Adelaide reacts to Dog & Cat Jury Report

Status Updates: Dog & Cat Jury Outcomes

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Sharing the Roads Safely

In 2014, Emily facilitated the highly successful and controversial Citizens Jury which explored how motorists and cyclists can share the road safely. Over a 6 week period, 43 jurors deeply explored the ways in which both government and society could work together to share the roads safely. Emily’s design and support ensured that the Jury received the best expert advice from all over Australia, underook an authentic deliberation process consisting of creative facilitation, choice work, and reflective discussion using an online portal. Excitingly, in October 2015, new laws were passed embeddig the Jury’s recommendations into South Australian legislation.

As the ‘Cycling on Footpaths’ Law is being bought into SA, the Jury’s recommendation on this has caused a lot of interest. This ‘Cycling on Footpaths Overview’ will help you to understand how the Jury arrived at this decision.

As is standard practice, the Jury was supported by a Core Reference Group who oversaw the process and ensured that the Jury was exposed to a balanced range of evidence. This group included:

  • Deputy Chief of Staff, Premier’s Office
  • Department of the Premier and Cabinet
  • Local Government Association (SA)
  • SA Police
  • Royal Automobile Association (RAA)
  • Department of Planning and Transport Infrastructure
  • Department of Education and Child Development
  • Motor Accident Commission SA

The Jury’s Report can be found here as can their creative commons licensed Library of Ideas.

Reforming Democracy: Sharing the Roads Safely Engagement Page

Adelaide Cyclists Forum Final Analysis

Adelaide Advertiser: Citizens Jury’s are better than becoming bogged down in bureaucracy


Kangaroo Island Citizens’ Juries

“How can government and community work together now and into the future to make life on Kangaroo Island the best it can be”

in 2014 the population of Kangaroo Island was apprximately 4000 pople – and at the same time over 400 government services were being delivered on the Island. Coinciding with a new Kangaroo Island Commissioner, the community wanted to find ways to create a governance structure that suited the Island and its specific needs. The Jury learnt about other Islands around the world – and spent time with governance experts, service deliveres and other citizens to design and agree on their report. There were 2 Juries run – the first one to idenitfy and describe the ideal governance structure, and the final Jury to develop and agree on ways in which the changes should be implemented. All jurors were Islanders – and were recruited using a public call through the Islander newspaper, and included a high proprotion of young people.

The Islander reports on the Jury’s findings

YourSAy: Kangaroo Island

Recruitment call: Hands up to be a citizens juror

Singapore Training

Citizens’ Juries

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Unlike every other company or organisation in Australia that runs citizens’ juries (and other deliberative processes involving random selection), we are the only company who can, on our own, run the entire process from “end to end”. This includes conception to recruitment of the jury, stakeholder involvement, deliberative facilitation and ongoing support.

We are effectively a ‘one-stop-shop’.

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What is a Citizens’ Jury

Decision-making about complex problems is often dominated by experts and special interest groups, with processes that don’t encourage the participation of the general public. Citizens’ Juries are one way to address this, by incorporating the views of the community into decision- making. They provide an opportunity to learn how the community think about an issue when presented with detailed information about the issue. Citizens’ Juries have been so named because of their apparent similarity to a legal jury, where a group of citizens reflecting a cross section of the public participates and comes to a decision.

However in many ways they are distinctly different to a legal jury. They do not pitch different sides against one another, and nor do they seek to find a guilty or not guilty finding; instead they rely on reaching a broad consensus among jury members around a series of recommendations after consideration of diverse views. In another difference to a jury in a court of law, citizens’ juries have the ability to incorporate into their deliberations values, ethics, societal norms and trade-offs. This helps to enrich their decision making, and arrive at sensible, logical outcomes. One interesting feature of Citizens’ Juries is that they typically result in considered and moderate recommendations that successfully blend competing claims and help reconcile antagonistic groups.

 


At democracyCo, we design, and facilitate large scale juries for any clients and we also offer training to your team in how to run a successful jury.

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 of Australians, all committed to working with government to develop public policy

Register Now