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Departmental Public Consultation

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 14 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many (a) citizens' juries and (b) summits have been hosted by his Department since June 2007; on what date each event took place; and which Ministers were present at each event; (310237)

(2) how many citizens’ juries or summits have been hosted by his Department since October 2008; on what date each event took place; and which Ministers were present at each event.

The Department recognises the important contribution that the public can make in developing policy and carry out a wide range of activities which allow ministers and officials to listen to and understand the views of the public and stakeholders in developing policy.

Data from 2007 on the number of citizens' juries and consultation with random panels of people to aid decision-making by the Department are not readily available. Supplying the occurrences of citizens' juries and deliberative consultations would require a substantive investigation into all public engagement programmes undertaken by various divisions within the Department at a disproportionate cost.

However, the Department does engage widely with the public using a number of methodologies which feed into the policy making process. These do on occasion include citizens’ juries and summits and other events which can but do not always include ministerial attendance.

Some examples of engagement events which involved Ministers were:

NHS Next Stage Review—led by the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Lord Darzi;

(September 2007 events held in each strategic health authority and attended by various Ministers including Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson and former departmental Ministers Lord Darzi, Ben Bradshaw, Dawn Primarolo and current minister Ann Keen);

(January 2008 events again held in each SHA and attended by various Ministers including Lord Darzi and Ann Keen); and

Primary and Community Care Review (April 2008 event attended partially by Ben Bradshaw).

Some examples of extensive public engagement which did not involve Ministers include:

Review into the Consequences of Additional Private Drugs for the NHS (2008): workshops with cancer patients, email consultation and the focus groups; and

NHS Constitution (2008-09): A series of focus groups and a deliberative event with patients, the public and stakeholders.