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Departmental Public Consultation

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 22 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 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. (243038)

DEFRA was formed in June 2001. However, inquires with policy leads have revealed the following examples of where DEFRA has convened a Citizen’s Jury since 2001:

In December 2005-January 2006, the Air and Environment Quality Division (now Atmosphere Quality and Industrial Pollution programme) ran a Citizen’s Jury to explore public views on air quality in order to inform the development of future policies and strategies. Members of the jury were paid to participate in the event.

In November 2007, a DEFRA-funded research project (WU0112) employed a Citizen’s Jury approach to explore people’s understanding of risk associated with the microbial pollution of water courses; public attitudes to culpability given the current scientific and policy evidence base, particularly as this related to the role of livestock farming; where public priorities were in terms of appropriate level and types of policy intervention and mitigation; and views regarding responsibilities for taking action to reduce microbial risks. Members of the jury were paid to participate in the event.

When used carefully and appropriately, Citizens’ Juries can be a helpful way of eliciting public preferences to factor into policy decision making.