Our Work

Changing the rules of local government (newDemocracy Foundation, Australia)

In April 2016 the Victoria State Government acted on the recommendation of an independent Commission of Inquiry and dismissed the Greater Geelong City Council, and committed to consult the community about its local governance model before the next council election. This inadvertently created one of the single great opportunities to explore how citizens would design a local system of representation if given the chance. Over four months a randomly selected group of 100 people from the City of Greater Geelong convened to deliberate on the question – “How do we want to be democratically represented by a future council?” Drawing from international and domestic advice and their own choices of expert speakers, the Jury delivered a final report with 13 recommendations, 2 ‘practical’ and 11 ‘aspirational’. The Victorian Government agreed to adopt 12 of the 13 recommendations. For more information, click here.

A Citizens’ Assembly for the Scottish Parliament (Sortition Foundation, UK)

How would sortition be implemented in a second legislative chamber? What would its powers be, how would participants be selected, and would they be paid? These and a host of other questions are answered in this paper proposing a second sortition chamber for the Scottish Parliament, published by the Sortition Foundation in collaboration with Common Weal Scotland and the newDemocracy Foundation. It gives a clear, succinct answer to the common questions regarding the practical implementation of a sortition chamber. For more information, click here.

Where to build a new community hospital? (Citizens Juries c.i.c., UK)

Choosing the location of a new local hospital is tricky. It’s not just that there are lots of things that need to be considered. There are strong local loyalties: everyone wants the new hospital in their local town. Citizens’ Juries CIC worked with the Jefferson Center to recruit, design and run a four-and-a-half day citizens’ jury in the Forest of Dean, England to choose whether the new community hospital should be in Cinderford, Coleford or Lydney. The jury’s recommendation of Cinderford was then backed by the two local health Boards. For more information, click here.

 

Incorporating a public voice in journalism (Jefferson Center, USA)

Though journalism is an integral part of well-functioning democracy, practitioners have been slow to embed deliberative practices into the the work of journalists. Through Your Voice Ohio, we’re using mini-public deliberation to guide and structure the work of 50+ local news partners across the state of Ohio working to rebuild trust with their communities and provide more useful reporting on critical community issues. The work is ongoing, but has already led to shifts in how newsrooms are covering issues, with positive responses from both policymakers and community members alike. For more information, click here and here.

Community plan: redesigning a street in São Paulo (Delibera Brasil, Brazil)

In partnership with the NGO Fundação Tide Setúbal, randomly selected citizens in a peripheral neighbourhood of São Paulo were invited to make recommendations about a new design for the main street, Rafael Zimbardi. This is the first implemented action from the “Plano de Bairro do Território Lapenna,” following Brazilian legislation on urban planning for major cities like São Paulo. In the first day citizens were informed through intensive interaction with specialists like street designers and urban planners. After the deliberation process in the second day, the mini-public agreed on 12 recommendations which were delivered to the local government and discussed with the designers and contractors responsible for the execution of the project. Besides the effectiveness of the deliberation process and achieving consensus on some critical issues for the community, our partners were impressed with the potential of mini-publics to engage ordinary citizens who had never participated in other civic initiatives. For more information, see this video.

Student government lotteries (Democracy in Practice, Bolivia)

Student Government Lotteries replace student elections to make student government more representative and to provide all students an equal chance to participate and develop leadership and civic skills. For more information, click here and here.

 

 

How to improve communication between citizens and Parliament? (Forum dos Cidadãos, Portugal)

A diverse panel of Portuguese citizens of different genders, ages and education levels, came together to discuss how to improve the communication between citizens and their elected representatives in the Portuguese national parliament. They listened and discussed with MPs from different parties, engaged in conversation with senior political journalists and political scientists and discussed at length among themselves. At the end of the process, the participants presented their recommendations to the President of Portugal. For more information, click here.

A voice for Torontonians in city planning (MASS LBP, Canada)

The Toronto Planning Review Panel is one of the few examples in the world (and the only one in Canada) of a standing residents panel advising a municipal government. The TRPP provides a representative, community-centric voice to the Planning Division to complement the work of other advisory bodies like the Design Review Panel, which is comprised of experts. It is made up of a representative sample of 32 randomly selected residents from across Toronto who meet 16 times over two years. Since its creation in 2015, the Toronto Planning Review Panel has weighed in on dozens of projects of strategic city-wide importance, and is rapidly becoming an important part of the design of City Planning policies and projects in Toronto. For a short video and more detailed information, click here.

A Citizens Decision on Fireworks (G1000.nu, Netherlands)

In an attempt to reduce the damage and nuisance of fireworks, the mayor of Enschede asked G1000.nu to organise a dialogue on the use of fireworks in his city.  We agreed on the conditions that the citizens would be accepted as full and equal partners in the process, and that the outcome – the Citizens Decision – would be accepted by the City Council. The G1000Enschede started off in June 2017 with over 300 participants, and concluded November 11th. On New Year’s Eve 2018, after confirmation of the Citizens Decision by City Council but before execution, the nuisance and damage from fireworks was already reduced by over 30% and expected to go down even further next year. For more information, click here.