Why citizens’ juries?
Public authorities have many difficult decisions to make like: “how should we decide what drugs the NHS should pay for?” and “should there be fracking in Lancashire?”
Opinion polls are important. They tell us what citizens think. But most policy questions are complex. Citizens’ juries give participants reliable information and time to explore difficult questions. They can tell us something that opinion polls and focus groups don’t tell us: what citizens think once they better understand a policy question. That can help, and give legitimacy to, public authorities trying to make good decisions.
What are citizens’ juries?
In a citizens’ jury, a cross-section of citizens (e.g. in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, education) are recruited and paid to tackle a public policy question like “should we have a sugar tax?”. They meet for several days and are provided with reliable, impartial information from expert witnesses. The jury members ask questions of the experts, and work together to reach group conclusions. Participants also complete questionnaires at the start and end of the jury to show how they change their minds as they better understand the problem they have been set.
The results are published, and can be fed back to public policymakers.
Citizens’ Juries c.i.c.
Citizens’ Juries c.i.c. is a social enterprise dedicated to designing and running citizens’ juries.
Citizens’ Juries c.i.c. designs and runs citizens’ juries in partnership with the Jefferson Center, the US- based charity which developed the citizens’ jury method. Citizens’ Juries c.i.c. is supported by the University of Manchester. The Director is Malcolm Oswald PhD, an Honorary Research Fellow in Law at the University of Manchester. Malcolm worked with the Jefferson Center and the University of Manchester to run two juries in January 2016.
Connected Health Cities commissioned Citizens Juries c.i.c. to design and run two juries in November 2016.
Interested in commissioning a citizens’ jury?
5 reasons to choose Citizens Juries’ c.i.c to design and run your citizens’ jury:
- The only organisation in the UK specialising in designing and running citizens’ juries
- Delivered in partnership with the Jefferson Center – the founders of citizens’ juries
- Rigorous methodology
- Focused on minimising bias – a significant critique of citizens’ juries
- Access to appropriate academic and non-academic expert witnesses.