Citizen Juries

Synonyms: 
Citizen Panels

Citizen Juries use representatives from the wider community who have no formal alignments or allegiances. They ensure community involvement in the decision making process by engaging citizens in the discussion of possible approaches or options.

"Citizen juries use a representative sample of citizens (usually selected in a random or stratified manner) who are briefed in detail on the background and current thinking relating to a particular issue, and asked to discuss possible approaches, sometimes in a televised group. Citizen juries are intended to complement other forms of consultation rather than replace them. Citizens are asked to become jurors and make a judgement in the form of a report, as they would in legal juries. The issue they are asked to consider will be one that has an effect across the community and where a representative and democratic decision-making process is required.

Citizen juries can be used to broker a conflict, or to provide a transparent and non-aligned viewpoint.

Citizen jurors bring with them an intrinsic worth in the good sense and wisdom born of their own knowledge and personal experience. Citizen juries provide the opportunity to add to that knowledge and to exchange ideas with their fellow citizens. The result is a collective one, in which each juror has a valuable contribution to make. 

Objectives: Citizen juries aim to draw members of the community into participative processes where the community is distanced from the decision-making process or a process is not seen as being democratic.

Outcomes: A citizen jury will deliver a considered report with recommendations for future actions or directions." 

This description comes from: Department of Sustainability and Environment (2005), Book 3: The Engagement Toolkit.Effective Engagement: building relationships with community and other stakeholders, The Community Engagement Network Resource and Regional Services Division Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment. 

Advice

Advice for USING this option

  • "Select a broadly representative group of approximately 8-12 people. Determine a question important to the issue being considered or develop a series of options for the jury to consider.
  • Brief jurors on the rules of the proceedings, and allow them two - four days to come to a recommendation.
  • Provide expert witnesses to brief the jury who can be cross-examined and who can spend time discussing the issue with the jury.
  • Engage independent moderator(s) to assist the process of deliberation.
  • At the agreed time, arrange a presentation from the panel and/or collect the jury’s report, which should outline their recommendations.
  • Publish the report and recommendations (this would normally be done by the commissioning body).
  • If the recommendations of the citizen jury are not followed up, publish the reasons for not following up (this would normally be done by the commissioning body)." 

This advice comes from: Department of Sustainability and Environment (2005), Book 3: The Engagement Toolkit.Effective Engagement: building relationships with community and other stakeholders, The Community Engagement Network Resource and Regional Services Division Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment. 

Resource

  • The Engagement Toolkit: Page 17 of this resource provides a detailed description and advice for using this option.

Source

Updated: 21st August 2014 - 3:23pm
A special thanks to this page's contributors
Author
Melbourne.

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