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Citizen engagement in science and technology policy: a commentary on recent UK experience (PLA 40)

Alan Irwin

Journal article

The publication in October 2000 of the Phillips Report on BSE marked a low ebb in UK science-public relations, but also a possible turning point. Among the various criticisms made by this official inquiry, one major identified problem concerns the relationship between governmental reassurances of safety and the declining public trust in such statements. In 2000 a new code of practice for scientific advisory committees was proposed which stressed the need for an 'inclusive' approach, for effective communication with the media and the wider public, for transparency and for high standards in working practices. While such moves are overdue, they also raise larger questions about the best role for public groups within scientific and technological decision-making.

This article was published in PLA 40: Deliberative Democracy and Citizen Empowerment (February 2001). Participatory Learning and Action (PLA, formerly PLA Notes) is the world's leading series on participatory learning and action approaches and methods. PLA publishes articles on participation aimed at practitioners, researchers, academics, students and activists. All articles are peer-reviewed by an international editorial board.

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