Use personal invitations

Most people, I imagine, will respond more readily to personal invitations to participate in an event than to the impersonal invitations with which most current consultations are announced, buried within webpages and by their nature accessible only to those with time and inclination. I seem to remember that OGP has previously taken groups of citizens throgh the process of making submissions, both in writing and in person, in sn attempt to demystify the process. However, there is, potentially, a whole lot more to public participation than simply recording the number of submissions. So the idea is, and this is really repeating the ideas I have put forward under other challenges, invite random groups of citizens to participate in deliberative processes on tricky topics and pay them for their time. This is simply a suggestion to start running representative deliberative processes (RDP), now. Make a budget for them. And when they get going, make sure that they have impact and show the participants and the public that they have impact. The processes of RDPs are well documented, and can surely readily be adapted to our local circumstances.

Why the contribution is important

Clearly an RDP involving some dozens or hundred or so participants at a time is not the same thing as mass participation in feedback. However, as time rolls on, and there are more and more RDPs, participation gradually includes more and more of the public. Thus the experience of this form of enhanced democracy will spread and the evidence will accumulate that quality of deliberation trumps quantity of fragmented feedback. RDPs can also help to reduce the bias in the existing feedback processes which favours those with money and time. Many participants in such processes overseas report that they were thrilled and honoured to be invited by a Minister or other public figure, and to take part. Thereis no reason to believe that our own public, laid back Kiwis though many like to present themselves as, would not be equally thrilled. Once bitten, they are much more likely to remain engaged in public affairs, and to vote. We need to look at new ways not just to encourage but actually and actively to facilitate public deliberative participation. 

by stowellj on June 17, 2021 at 01:47PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.5
Based on: 2 votes