The rationale - Michael Wills and Anthony Barnett
The "National Conversation" Conversation - Tony Curzon Price
Values and Virtual Debates - Bill Thompson
Online Engagement in a National Debate - Steve Clift
Networking Democracy (43 responses)
Ensuring Security (5 responses)
Asking Difficult Questions (3 responses)
How do online and offline interact? (3 responses)
Building Participation (7 responses)
Final thoughts (7 responses)
Email exchange between Michael Wills MP (Ministry of Justice) and Anthony Barnett (openDemocracy)
This initial email exchange sets out the rationale for the discussion group.
OurKingdom, which is the British blog of openDemocracy, wants to strongly support your commitment to gain citizen involvement in your proposed summit process. When you and I met at the ippr fringe meeting in Bournemouth you said you wanted people to be engaged in the Summit via the web if this was possible. We think that on-line activity should play a vital role because:
· it improves access
· it releases energy
· it can ensure widespread involvement
· it encourages learning
however we recognise there can be problems:
· marginalises people without access
Of course this is apart from any controversy over drafting and deciding a British statement of values.
If you could clarify how you see the Summit and provide a brief informal description of your aims, even at this early stage, the OurKingdom team at openDemocracy will ask some web and internet experts to suggest the best ways they can think of to use the use the opportunity and minimise the difficulties of on-line public engagement and then we can open up this discussion on the web itself.
With best wishes,
Thank you for your email. As you know, the Government announced its desire to hold a national debate on a British Statement of Values as part of the Governance of Britain Green Paper. Such a debate must involve people from all walks of life, from all parts of the United Kingdom in a deliberative and informed process. Online engagement will be a key part of this.
The Government is keen to involve others in the development of this engagement process and recognises the practical experience that you and others have in this field. I am therefore grateful for your offer to gather a number of experts in this field to consider issues and inform the process.
The task is to construct an online engagement policy and process which enables the merits of a British Statement of Values to be considered and debated. This process will feed into in a Citizens’ Summit, a representative body of citizens, which will deliberate on the issues raised, the merits of a statement of values and what such a statement should contain and what it might be used for. We envisage that a variety of events will be held to build up useful evidence and information for the Summit to discuss and to stimulate debate.
The process of online engagement will need to identify the best ways to:
· encourage people to take part – especially finding ways to encourage seldom heard voices to join in and ensure it is a representative process
· mitigate against particular groups or individuals overly dominating the conversation
· analyse and distill a large number of differing comments and views to identify the key issues and concerns
· find appropriate method(s) of feeding the views generated into a Citizens' Summit so that those taking part in it are presented with coherent approaches and views rather than thousands of individual opinions from which it will be hard for them to draw conclusions.
I should be very grateful for your views and those of your colleagues on how best to achieve these goals.
Minister of State
Department of Justice
Thank you for your reply. We will now send this exchange out to a number of individuals with experience in on-line debate and the aggregation of opinion. The aim will be to gather in answers to your questions to help you decide on your online policy for the summit process. I want to emphasize that this is an independent public web consultation, and to express my appreciation of your commitment to it. It will be managed by Jon Bright from OurKingdom.
We will start with responses from four experts. We will then circulate this to a larger group to build up a set of responses, ideas and an initial assessment of the options. We will then put the exchange onto the open web inviting comments and responses from citizens everywhere, asking them to identify themselves and their nationality. Throughout, you and members of your team at Justice should intervene, with questions, requests for clarifications, suggestions and concerns.
Our target is to complete an open, deliberative consultation by the end of February to be followed by a set of suggestions for you to consider. We will retain all the material on line for the record. Whether and how there should continue to be online discussion of the methods adopted by the Summit will be for you and your colleagues to decide.
Comment and discussion on Networking Democracy is taking place on OurKingdom - click here to join in.
- The rationale - Michael Wills and Anthony Barnett
- The "National Conversation" Conversation - Tony Curzon Price
- Values and Virtual Debates - Bill Thompson
- Online Engagement in a National Debate - Steve Clift
- Building Online Participation into a National Citizens Summit - Suw Charman
- Networking Democracy (43 responses)
- Ensuring Security (5 responses)
- Asking Difficult Questions (3 responses)
- How do online and offline interact? (3 responses)
- Building Participation (7 responses)
- Final thoughts (7 responses)