Latest News

Read our latest Digest

Contact Us

22 September 2014

Airport capacity in the south east: potential for open & robust policy-making through stakeholder and public dialogues?

Filed under: — Posted by Nanasha @ 12:47pm

By Steve Robinson, Sciencewise Dialogue & Engagement Specialist

Copy of airplanes_003A third Heathrow runway was proposed as far back as the early 90s and has faced consistent, implacable opposition from many people, especially local communities, other stakeholders and politicians.

The ‘third runway proposal’ was always of interest to me as a dialogue process practitioner for it’s a prime example both of the importance of framing issues and of the pitfalls of open vs. closed questions. ‘Do you want a third runway at Heathrow?’ is a classic closed question to which the resounding answer from many people was and is ‘No’. Leaflets distributed recently by Back Heathrow continue in this vein, asking within a series of arguably loaded questions ‘Do you support another runway being built at Heathrow…?’ – a closed question to which many will answer ‘No’.

15 September 2014

‘Engaging the public for better policy’ workshop questions – part 3

Filed under: — Posted by Nanasha @ 5:43pm

By Alexandra Humphris-Bach, Sciencewise Knowledge Sharing Manager

WebThe third in our Sciencewise Q&A blog series responds to ‘Is the public’s perception of some aspects of science down to a lack of scientific understanding/learning?’

Experience has shown that given the right information, support and time, the public can participate in discussions on complex and/or contentious subjects. Many policy makers and experts have been impressed with the speed at which public participants pick up complex issues, the interest they show and most importantly, the value and insights that they add to the debate. See also FAQ 5: Can the public contribute meaningfully?

8 September 2014

The best of Sciencewise: the time of public dialogue has come.

Filed under: — Posted by Nanasha @ 5:20pm

By Sonia Bussu and Houda Davis, Sciencewise Researchers

cartoon men 2 enlarged (3)"We reviewed 10 years of Sciencewise’s research work to highlight key insights on why, when and how to engage the public."

This week Sciencewise celebrates ten years of work in supporting public dialogue on policy issues involving science and technology. To mark this anniversary we have carried out a review of Sciencewise thinking on public dialogue, highlighting important learning on why, when and how public dialogues should be carried out, and who should be involved.

1 September 2014

‘Engaging the public for better policy’ workshop questions – part 2

Filed under: — Posted by Nanasha @ 2:33pm

By Alexandra Humphris-Bach, Sciencewise Knowledge Sharing Manager

WebThe second in our Sciencewise Q&A blog series responds to ‘what is the difference between a public consultation and a public dialogue?'

Compared to other forms of engagement, public dialogues typically engage a relatively small number of citizens directly, but generate deep and rich discussions that produce valuable insights into complex issues (not just which option people favour, but also why they would favour a particular option). Public dialogues often sit alongside other forms of public engagement, such as public meetings, written consultations, focus groups and surveys. See also our more in depth explanation of public dialogue.

13 August 2014

'Engaging the public for better policy' workshop questions - part 1

Filed under: — Posted by Nanasha @ 9:19am

By Alexandra Humphris-Bach, Sciencewise Knowledge Sharing Manager


WebThis year saw around 200 policy makers at Civil Service Live 2014 attend the Sciencewise workshops on 'Engaging the Public for better policy'. The sessions showcased two recent public dialogue case studies (on Openness in animal research and Trajectories for carbon emission reductions), providing policy makers with real life experiences of engaging with the public as part of the policy-making process.

12 August 2014

When public dialogue is a bad idea

Filed under: — Posted by Nanasha @ 12:23pm

By Simon Burall, Head of Dialogue for Sciencewise

wrong or right ethical questionHow can public support for controversial and sensitive policies be understood and tested? Are referendums better or worse than polls and surveys? Can deliberative processes provide governments with clearer answers? A recent response to a consultation by the Department for Environment and Climate Change (DECC) suggests that that a deliberative process might be best.

29 July 2014

Data, policy and the public: links I liked

Filed under: — Posted by Nanasha @ 9:40am

By Amy Pollard, Sciencewise Dialogue Manager

LinksSciencewise is currently exploring where and how the public voice might enhance policy making with a number of different government departments on issues of data. As part of this work we are following the various conversations on data and public views.

22 July 2014

Public dialogue on community rights hots up

Filed under: — Posted by Nanasha @ 4:13pm

By Amy Pollard, Sciencewise Dialogue Manager

Public engagement 2Last night I attended the final session of a public dialogue on community rights and wellbeing, supported by Sciencewise and organised by the New Economics Foundation, the Cabinet Office and Hopkins Van Mil.

It was a boiling hot summer’s evening in Kennington – the kind of stifling heat that social psychologists have long associated with a tendency for public rioting. Would we see tempers fray as members of the public got to the nitty gritty of the community rights agenda?

Would it be possible to bring together a coherent conversation with such a diverse group? Would the policy makers attending the session find themselves encircled by a braying pack?

15 July 2014

Call for policy maker input: 'Best of' Sciencewise thought leadership and research

Filed under: — Posted by Nanasha @ 8:33am

By Amy Pollard, Sciencewise Dialogue Manager

whitehallSciencewise has now done twenty different research and thought leadership pieces, which in different ways explore the role of public dialogue in policy making and discuss issues of best practice when engaging the public. For those of you still deciding on your summer holiday reading, I can heartily recommend a look through this index with one sentence summaries of our different pieces.

5 June 2014

Public dialogue on flood risk - Leicester

Filed under: — Posted by Nanasha @ 3:41pm

By Jacqui Cotton, Policy, Strategy and Investment R&D Theme Manager, Environment Agency

People talking_origThe Environment Agency held the first of its public dialogues on flood risk in Leicester this week and were taken aback by the energy, enthusiasm and insightful ideas which people brought to the event.

On Tuesday evening, 24 randomly selected members of the public, whose homes are all in flood risk areas in Leicester came to the Grand Hotel in the city centre to talk about flooding. We started with a video from John Curtin, Director of Incident Management at the Environment Agency, stating how important this work was and how useful it will be to gain people’s views about flood risk communications. This set the tone for the evening and the following Saturday where people really helped us to grapple with flood risk issues and communication challenges.

1 2 3 4 5 620