Information for G02855
Citizens’ juries in Burnley, UK: from deliberation to intervention (PLA 58)
Guest editors: Tom Wakeford and Jasber Singh.
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The authors describe the experience of two innovative community-based citizens’ juries that took place in a northern town in England. Jury 1 was the first citizens' jury to be commissioned and part-funded by a community organisation for the benefit of the local community. Participants made over 80 recommendations on a broad range of topics such as housing and service provision. Although the process itself had great value for those who participated, the jury’s report led to no tangible outcomes in terms of changes in policy or practice. Despite having prior agreement from all key agencies, no action was taken - from the outset the process had been set up by us as an activist intervention in the exercise of power, but outside of local governance processes.
Two years later, a second citizens’ jury considered what would improve the health and well-being of local people. Local activists worked through a multi-agency steering group, bringing together professionals working in key agencies together with local residents and grassroots community workers to develop and steer the process. Jurors made more than 100 recommendations. Contrary to experience with the first Jury, many of these were acted upon. Perhaps there was a match between issues important to local people and government targets for a reduction in health inequalities. As an insider project, this jury was networked into local governance processes.
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 and activists. All articles are peer-reviewed by an international editorial board. See: www.planotes.org