Schemes used by South Australia to include citizens in policy making

Joshua Chambers at Future Gov Asia: “…South Australia has pioneered a number of innovative methods to try to include its residents in policymaking. …The highest profile participatory programme run by the state government is the Citizens’ Jury initiative, …The Citizens’ Jury takes a randomly selected, representative group of citizens through a process to hear arguments and evidence much like a jury in a trial, before writing an independent report which makes recommendations to government.
There were 37 members of the jury, hearing evidence on Thursday evenings and Saturdays over a five week period. They heard from motorists associations, cycling associations, and all sorts of other interested groups.
They used Basecamp software to ensure that jurors stayed connected when not at meetings, hosting discussions in a private space to consider the evidence they heard. …The jurors prepared 21 recommendations, ranging from decreasing speed in the city to a schools programme…. The Government supports the majority of the recommendations and will investigate the remaining three.
The government has also committed to provide jurors with an update every 6 months on the progress being made in this area.
Lessons and challenges
As would be expected with an innovative new scheme, it hasn’t always been smooth. One lesson learned from the first initiative was that affected agencies need to be engaged in advance, and briefed throughout the process, so that they can prepare their responses and resources. ….
Aside from the Citizens’ Jury, the Government of South Australia is also pioneering other approaches to include citizens in policy making. Fund My Idea is a crowdsourcing site that allows citizens to propose new projects. …(More)”