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Deliberative Forums

Volume 455: debated on Friday 26 January 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if she will make a statement on the anticipated cost and purpose of the Government’s proposals to use deliberative forums to consult public opinion. (114111)

Following a formal process Ipsos MORI have been selected as partners to recruit a representative sample of the population, develop stimulus materials and deliver five regional forums and a national citizens summit.

This deliberative public engagement exercise is being developed to complement the policy review process announced by the Prime Minister in the autumn. The representative group of the general public will explore aspects of what people think as ‘citizens’ and as ‘customers’ of public services. The results of their deliberations will go directly to Cabinet to inform Government policies for the future.

Deliberative research is focused on engaging people in a dialogue rather than taking a snapshot of their opinions. It involves people more fully in the processes of research, ensuring that results reflect their concerns; participants are involved in creating and exploring different options.

The process builds on good practice in engaging citizens in policy making, through, for example the Department of Health’s “Your Health Your Care Your Say” consultation on the future of community services and the Department for Work and Pension’s national pensions debate.

The anticipated cost of the deliberative exercise is £90,000, less than the cost of the exercises referred to above.