Trust in government and politicians is in short supply. People claim to be tired of ‘experts’ and the divide between facts and opinion has been blurred. The art of offering simple solutions to complex problems is tipping the scale away from nuanced, multifaceted answers founded on compromise.

Within this context, governments nonetheless need to make difficult decisions, whether it’s developing budgets, aligning priorities, or designing long-term projects. It’s often impossible to make everybody happy as the messy business of weighing trade-offs takes place.

Claudia Chwalisz will present the key findings in The People’s Verdict, a study of 50 long-form deliberative processes, where randomly selected citizens have played key roles in decision-making. The examples include Canada’s national mental health action plan, Melbourne’s 10-year $5 billion budget, Victoria’s obesity strategy and Ontario’s housing legislation. She makes the case that adding informed citizen voices to the heart of public decision-making leads to more effective policies.

The session will include opportunities for participants to discuss the book’s findings and the role that Scotland can play in advancing democratic innovation.

Keynote listeners:

Facilitated by Oliver Escobar, What Works Scotland and University of Edinburgh

More details

  • Date: 15 June 2017
  • Time: 2pm to 4pm, with tea and coffee from 1.45pm
  • Location: Project Room 1.06 at 50 George Square, University of Edinburgh

Places are free, but limited, so please register on Eventbrite to book your place.