Build a strong evidence base for deliberative democracy

Build a strong evidence base for deliberative democracy

Build a strong evidence base for deliberative democracy to determine its effectiveness and develop a framework for measuring impact.


Law should strengthen Community council powers. So Msp and local councillors have to answer questions. Invite community councils to meet local Msps by law.

If the recommendations of deliberative democracy are working, the outcomes of each panel will be realised in a number of goals. These goals should be measurable, attainable and reasonable.

This would be a key part of the process of understanding how representative democracy and deliberative democracy initiatives should co-exist.

A key metric will be to ensure that "deliberative democracy" is not limited to those who are sufficnetly motivated to take part in person or have time off/financial freedom to do so.

Too often citizens feel locked out of decision-making outside election time. Democracy isn’t just putting a cross in the ballot box every five years – it’s feeling like all of us have a permanent stake in how decisions are made. We need to cultivate a culture where citizens are motivated and educated as part of the political process. This means learning from international best practice, creating models and examples, and placing deliberative democracy within the context of democratic renewal.

Impact should not just be about the outcomes but also the quality of the process. It needs to consider whether people feel they have been supported, informed, and listened to, even if ultimately their preferences are not the ones that are adopted.

Use truly independent sources rather than government funded organisations with vested interests

Yes, impact is the key question and setting up some system of accountability and measuring this is crucial.

Academic work has looked at different countries and considered how they apply deliberative democracy in practice. This could act as a ready evidence base to inform a framework in Scotland. Studies have considered how different mechanisms create a stronger link between citizen contributions and policy recommendations. After-action studies, conducted by imbedded independent researchers, measuring the quality of an enacted deliberative activity by the Parliament, could be an extra evidence source.

One thing to check that it works is if the Parliament listens and takes on board recommendations or explains why they are not taking on board recommendations.

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