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Deliberative video conference characteristics

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Cost Scale:  £20,000- £30,000
Time Scale: 2-4 months initial

Depth
Breadth
Reach
Engagement Level
Medium
Medium Low
Medium

Depth

Deliberative video conferences allow policy makers to have a conversation with members of the public, and in doing so, gain an understanding of views on issues beyond ‘top of head’ responses. They provide the opportunity for members of the public to learn about policy issues at hand, allowing policy makers to understand how views may evolve as part of this process. They also provide the opportunity to ask members of the public to explain why they hold particular views, and to identify underlying beliefs and values.

That said, the online format constrains both the learning opportunities for members of the public and time available for discussion of issues. This means the scope of projects must be more tightly constrained and the evidence produced has less depth than in face to face deliberative processes.

Breadth

Deliberative video conferences are a flexible tool that can be structured in a way that encourages generation of new ideas and allows participants to identify and frame issues for discussion. For example, as part of a session, you can use brainstorming around an open question to generate ideas, or propose imagined scenarios and ask participants how they would respond in order to encourage fresh thinking. The deliberative nature of the discussion also allows participants to build one another’s ideas, encouraging new thinking.

That said, the online format constrains the ease with which participants are able to interact with one another, and makes use of the tools above more unwieldy than in face to face deliberative processes.

Reach

Deliberative video conferences bring together a demographically balanced group of 8-12 citizens per session convened. This small participant group ensures policy makers can get public input quickly and easily.  

Engagement Level

Deliberative video conferences allow policy makers to work directly with members of the public as part of a two-way exchange of information. They allow for the same group to be reconvened on a number of occasions, increasing the depth of engagement. They also allow members of the public to engage with one another on the issues at hand.

That said, the online format constrains the ease of interaction and the time constraints of projects limit possibilities for continued and collaborative engagement.