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Departmental Public Consultation

Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 17 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families on which occasions his Department has convened a citizens' jury or randomly drawn panel of people to aid the Department's policy making since 2000; whether the participants were paid in each case; and if he will make a statement. (243040)

The Department for Children, Schools and Families conducted its only citizens’ jury in 2007 and followed this with 11 related deliberative debates to ensure that the views of parents and young people were reflected in the development and implementation of the Children's Plan.

The Department organised a citizen's jury at Bristol Brunel Academy on 6 September 2007. 38 people participated, including children, young people and teachers from the academy; and parents and local practitioners working with children.

The Department followed this citizens’ jury with three sets of deliberative debates with members of the public and education professionals.

The first set of deliberative debates was held on Saturday 29 September 2007, with four events running simultaneously in London, Leeds, Portsmouth and Birmingham. These events formed part of the consultative process for the Children's Plan. Around 400 young people, parents, teachers and those working with children and young people were involved.

The second set was held on 8 March 2008, with four events again running in London, Leeds, Portsmouth and Birmingham. The events focused on policy areas in the Children's Plan. Around 240 people attended, including parents, young people and educational professionals.

The last set took place on 13 September 2008. The events were held in London, Leeds and Birmingham and were attended by around 300 people including parents, local practitioners and representatives of stakeholder organisations. The themes discussed were Parents as Partners in Learning; the Childcare Strategy and Parental Complaints.

Participants were not paid to attend the citizens’ jury but were paid a small sum to attend the deliberative events to cover out of pocket expenses.

It is not possible to establish a definitive figure for juries or panels from predecessor Departments.