These deliberative processes involve local residents, citizens and service users in discussing, hearing evidence and making proposals around often highly contested issues of public policy.
Following best practice learnt over many years, they produce insightful results that would not be achieved through a consultation, focus group or survey. In addition, the process nearly always produces a group of enthusiastic motivated residents interested in taking action.
The three main elements of a Citizen Inquiry
A ‘jury’ is typically made up of a group of 20 diverse people who are usually selected ‘at random’. In an informal and relaxed setting members of the jury share knowledge, expertise and opinions before questioning a series of ‘commentators’ (expert witnesses) — specialists they have called to provide different perspectives on the topic. Where possible the group seeks consensus before collectively producing a set of recommendations.
Shared Future can facilitate Inquiries on a huge range of topics. In fact, on any topic. As the facilitators we stand apart from making any recommendations, and see our role as simply supporting the deliberations of the Inquiry and in making sure best practice is followed.
Examples of Shared Future-led Citizen Jury work
Our associates, including Peter Bryant and Nick Beddow, have tackled many Citizen Inquiries in their extensive careers. Most recently Shared Future released the report of the Central Blackpool Health and Wellbeing Inquiry.
Previously we facilitated the Wirral Alcohol Inquiry and a Citizens Jury for the West Midlands Mental Health Commission, enabling people with lived experience to input into the work of the commission, and into Fracking in Preston. In 2013 and 2014, Shared Future also ran the Morecambe and Fleetwood Alcohol inquiries.
We are currently completing another Citizen Jury in Hastings on the theme of alcohol harm reduction, as well as continuing to work in Blackpool on remodelling community orientated primary care.
These were all led by Peter Bryant, who has worked on more than 20 citizens jury style processes over the last 10 years, with the variety of topics including: alcohol, access to healthy food, nanotechnology, well-being, life in rural areas and community engagement.