This Citizens' Jury on the National Health Service was part of UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown's proposal for the use of citizens' juries. 9 NHS citizens' juries took place in 2007, organized simultaneously and connected via livestream.
Problems and Purpose
Background History and Context
In a speech on September 3, 2007, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced his proposal for an immediate use of citizens' juries. Various were organized by Opinion Leader Research, in different locations and on different issues. Five citizens’ juries were conducted by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. The first jury met in Bristol on 6 September 2007 at a cost of £57,074.25 Citizens juries also have been held in London, Leeds, Portsmouth, and Birmingham. The cost of these four juries totalled £467,704. All five events were organised by Opinion Leader Research. The Department have stated that these events “took the form of deliberative forums”.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
Opinion Leader Research was hired to set up and run the juries.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
The jury was composed of a small number of citizens (around 20) selected by a stratified random selection process to ensure a diversity of demographic criteria (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity, etc.). It also comprised patients and professionals of the health sector.
Methods and Tools Used
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
The jury gathered to deliberate over one day. Citizens heard evidence, cross-examined selected experts and deliberated on the question(s). At the end of the process, citizens produced recommendations in the form of a report; the sponsoring body (e.g. the public authority) was expected to respond to the recommendations.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
It is not clear how the recommendations or learnings were transmitted to decision makers. Some critics suggested that the juries were merely a publicity stunt; however Brown, disagreed, noting that his views had been swayed on several issues due to the recommendations. Though PM Brown claimed the citizens' juries influenced his decisions, there is nothing to show that this translated into any legislation that was passed.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
This entry is based on the POLITICIZE dataset. More information can be found at the following links:
- Paulis, Emilien; Pilet, Jean-Benoit; Panel, Sophie; Vittori, Davide; Close, Caroline, 2020, "POLITICIZE Dataset", https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/Z7X6GT, Harvard Dataverse, V1
- Pilet J-B, Paulis E, Panel S., Vitori D & Close C. 202X. The POLITICIZE Dataset: an inventory of Deliberative Mini-Publics (DMPs) in Europe. European Political Science.