Data

Location
United Kingdom
Scope of Influence
National
Files
https://s3.amazonaws.com/uploads.participedia.xyz/417e9cd0-d3fc-4991-b981-acc0920d4a6b_building-a-public-culture-of-economics.pdf
Links
https://www.thersa.org/action-and-research/rsa-projects/economy-enterprise-manufacturing-folder/citizens-economic-council
Videos
https://vimeo.com/213874844
Start Date
End Date
Ongoing
No
Time Limited or Repeated?
A single, defined period of time
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Open to All
Legality
Yes
Facilitators
Yes
Facilitator Training
Professional Facilitators
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Both
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Discussion, Dialogue, or Deliberation
Ask & Answer Questions
Storytelling
Information & Learning Resources
Video Presentations
Written Briefing Materials
Expert Presentations
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Public Report
Public Hearings/Meetings
New Media
Staff
No
Volunteers
No

CASE

The RSA Citizens’ Economic Council Programme: Capacity Building for Participation in Macro-Economic Policy (United Kingdom)

First Submitted By Institute of Development Studies

Most Recent Changes By Scott Fletcher, Participedia Team

Location
United Kingdom
Scope of Influence
National
Files
https://s3.amazonaws.com/uploads.participedia.xyz/417e9cd0-d3fc-4991-b981-acc0920d4a6b_building-a-public-culture-of-economics.pdf
Links
https://www.thersa.org/action-and-research/rsa-projects/economy-enterprise-manufacturing-folder/citizens-economic-council
Videos
https://vimeo.com/213874844
Start Date
End Date
Ongoing
No
Time Limited or Repeated?
A single, defined period of time
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Open to All
Legality
Yes
Facilitators
Yes
Facilitator Training
Professional Facilitators
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Both
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Discussion, Dialogue, or Deliberation
Ask & Answer Questions
Storytelling
Information & Learning Resources
Video Presentations
Written Briefing Materials
Expert Presentations
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Public Report
Public Hearings/Meetings
New Media
Staff
No
Volunteers
No

The RSA’s Citizen Economic Council was a two-year programme in which 54 citizens conducted their own enquiry into economic policy in the United Kingdom and worked and deliberated with policy-makers to co-create economic policy.

Problems and Purpose

Studies have shown the need for citizens to improve economic literacy and gain an understanding of their role in the policy arena, as well as the need for transparency of choices behind economic policies.[1] The RSA’s two-year Citizens’ Economic Council Programme explored how citizen voice can be embedded in macro-economic policy processes such as setting interest rates or making budget decisions.[2] The programme allowed 54 citizens to conducted their own enquiry into economic policy in the United Kingdom and worked and deliberated with policy-makers to co-create economic policy. The four goals of the Citizen Economic Council were to improve economic literacy and accessibility, increase transparency, improve democratic accountability, and create space for innovative economic alternatives.[3] 

Background History and Context

Recent economic crises have undermined trust in economic and political institutions[4] and a debate around accountability has spread.[5] Studies have shown the need for citizens to improve economic literacy and gain an understanding of their role in the policy arena, as well as the need for transparency of choices behind economic policies.[6]

In this context, the RSA began the Citizens’ Economic Council Programme in 2016 to increase the influence of citizens over economic policy. 

Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Context

Originating entities include the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), local councils, and local charities involved in supporting the recruitment of people.[7]

Participant Recruitment and Selection

190 people were consulted during the Economic Inclusion roadshow and 54 citizens were randomly selected to deliberate on national economic policy in the Citizen’s Economic Council.[8] Public engagement was further encouraged by online public crowdsourcing which produced 47 creative and innovative policy ideas from over 1000 people.[9]

Methods and Tools

During the Citizens’ Economic Council meetings, a different economic theme was covered at each session through a variety of activities, such as expert panels, structured debates, as well as videos, e-voting, games, and collage.[10]  

What Went on: Process, Interaction, and Participation 

The programme had five main stages: Economic Inclusion Roadshow (Oct-Dec 2016); Citizens Economic Council (Feb-June 2017); DIY Economics Toolkit (Feb 2017 - ongoing); Online public crowdsourcing (Oct 2017 – Jan 2018); and Stakeholder engagement (Feb 2017 - ongoing).[11] 

The Economic Inclusion Roadshow brought together 190 voices of socially and economically excluded citizens in eleven half-day workshops and ensured access support, e.g. for people with disabilities or translators for those who had language barriers.[12]

The Citizens’ Economic Council was comprised of 54 citizens selected with regard to ethnicity, age, gender, and social grade and lived within Greater London or Greater Manchester.[13] Once selected they came together to deliberate national economic policy during nine full-day workshops (4 in London; 4 in Manchester and 1 in Birmingham).[14] They co-created a Citizens’ Economic Charter,[15] drawing on findings from the Economic Inclusion Roadshow. The Council later framed three crowdsourcing challenges open to all UK citizens which generated 47 policy ideas. Today, the council continues to inform the RSA’s stakeholder and Fellowship engagement.[16]

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

Participants discussed values on economic issues and developed agreed public perspectives, and co-produced practical recommendations in collaboration with policymakers, economists and stakeholders.[17]

In turn, the Council’s deliberations helped frame three crowdsourcing challenges which any UK citizen could respond to, and continues to inform the RSA’s wider stakeholder and Fellowship engagement.[18]

While this was a demonstration project, the RSA’s proposal is that economic institutions such as the government and the Bank of England use randomly selected Citizens’ Councils to better understand the public’s views on issues such as interest rates and Budget decisions. The aim is to lead to better and more informed policy decisions, to help explore citizen values, to promote transparency, awareness and education about economics, and strengthen democracy and debate.[19]

Analysis and Lessons Learned

Want to contribute an analysis of this initiative? Help us complete this section!

See Also

The RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce)

Public Policy Collage

Crowdsourcing

References

[1] Arthur, Chris. “Financial Literacy Education for Citizens: What Kind of Responsibility, Equality and Engagement?” Citizenship, Social and Economics Education, vol. 11, no. 3, Sept. 2012, pp. 163–76. Crossref, doi:10.2304/csee.2012.11.3.163.

[2] Patel, Reema. “Citizens, Participation and Economics – Emerging Findings from the Citizens’ Economic Council - RSA.” RSA, 2017, https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/rsa-blogs/2017/11/citizens-participation-and-economics--emerging-findings-from-the-citizens-economic-council.

[3] RSA. “Economics for Everyone.” RSA Reports, 22 June 2016, https://medium.com/rsa-reports/economics-for-everyone-da08028262a1#.4pc9uqb95.

[4] Tonkiss, Fran. “Trust, Confidence and Economic Crisis.” Intereconomics, vol. 44, no. 4, July 2009, pp. 196–202. Springer Link, doi:10.1007/s10272-009-0295-x 

[5] Greiling, Dorothea. “Accountability and Trust.” The Oxford Handbook of Public Accountability, 2014. www.oxfordhandbooks.com, http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199641253.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199641253-e-023.

[6] Harrison, Teresa M., and Djoko Sigit Sayogo. “Transparency, Participation, and Accountability Practices in Open Government: A Comparative Study.” Government Information Quarterly, vol. 31, no. 4, Oct. 2014, pp. 513–25. ScienceDirect, doi:10.1016/j.giq.2014.08.002.

[7] Patel, Reema, and Kayshani Gibbon. Citizens, Participation and the Economy: Interim Report of the RSA Citizens’ Economic Council. RSA Action and Research Centre, 2017, https://www.thersa.org/globalassets/pdfs/reports/rsa-citizen-participation-and-the-economy.pdf 

[8] Patel, Reema, and Kayshani Gibbon. Citizens, Participation and the Economy: Interim Report of the RSA Citizens’ Economic Council. RSA Action and Research Centre, 2017, https://www.thersa.org/globalassets/pdfs/reports/rsa-citizen-participation-and-the-economy.pdf

[9] Patel, Reema, and Kayshani Gibbon. Citizens, Participation and the Economy: Interim Report of the RSA Citizens’ Economic Council. RSA Action and Research Centre, 2017, https://www.thersa.org/globalassets/pdfs/reports/rsa-citizen-participation-and-the-economy.pdf

[10] Patel, Reema, et al. On the Road: Findings from the RSA’s Economic Inclusion Roadshow. RSA Action and Research Centre, 2017, https://www.barrowcadbury.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/rsa-cec-roadshow-report.pdf 

[11] Greenham, T. (2018) “Economic democracy: The role of public deliberation”. All staff learning workshop. Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, UK. Presentation.

[12] Patel, Reema, et al. On the Road: Findings from the RSA’s Economic Inclusion Roadshow. RSA Action and Research Centre, 2017, https://www.barrowcadbury.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/rsa-cec-roadshow-report.pdf 

[13] Patel and Gibbon. Citizens, Participation and the Economy: Interim Report of the RSA Citizens’ Economic Council, 26.

[14] Patel and Gibbon. Citizens, Participation and the Economy: Interim Report of the RSA Citizens’ Economic Council, 26.

[15] Patel and Gibbon. Citizens, Participation and the Economy: Interim Report of the RSA Citizens’ Economic Council, 31-34.

[16] Patel, Reema, and Kayshani Gibbon. Citizens, Participation and the Economy: Interim Report of the RSA Citizens’ Economic Council. RSA Action and Research Centre, 2017, https://www.thersa.org/globalassets/pdfs/reports/rsa-citizen-participation-and-the-economy.pdf 

[17] RSA. “Economics for Everyone.” RSA Reports, 22 June 2016, https://medium.com/rsa-reports/economics-for-everyone-da08028262a1#.4pc9uqb95.

[18] RSA. “Economics for Everyone.” RSA Reports, 22 June 2016, https://medium.com/rsa-reports/economics-for-everyone-da08028262a1#.4pc9uqb95.

[19] Patel, Reema, et al. Building a Public Culture of Economics: Final Report of the RSA Citizens’ Economic Council. RSA Action and Research Centre, 2018, p. 104, https://www.thersa.org/globalassets/pdfs/reports/building-a-public-culture-of-economics.pdf.

External Links 

Project Website: https://www.thersa.org/action-and-research/rsa-projects/economy-enterprise-manufacturing-folder/citizens-economic-council

Notes

Lead image: " Reema Patel (Programme Manager, Citizens’ Economic Council at the RSA), Joe Richards (Campaigns Director, Economy) and Victoria Waldersee (Commissioning Editor and Co-director, Economy) facilitate discussions about where we fit into the economy, and what’s missing from the map, at the launch of the toolkit at The RSA in London" Joe Richards, https://goo.gl/NgRh4F

The first submission of this Participedia entry was adapted from a research project by the Institute of Development Studies, 'Linking Participation and Economic Advancement’ licensed and reproduced under Creative Commons (CC BY 3.0).

Original source: https://www.eldis.org/keyissues/mapping-participation-economic-advancement