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Consensus Conferences

Developed in Denmark, Consensus Conferences are used in a variety of settings and typically involve a group of citizens with varied backgrounds who meet to discuss issues of a scientific or technical nature. The conference has two stages: the first involves small group meetings with experts to discuss the issues and work towards consensus. The second stage assembles experts, media and the public where the conferences main observations and conclusions are presented. Read our summary of this method.

Here are the 4 resources from Consensus Conferences.

A Review of Public Participation and Consultation Methods

J. Abelson, P-G. Forest, J. Eyles, P. Smith, E. Martin, F-P Gauvin. Deliberations about Deliberation: Issues in the Design and Evaluation of Public Consultation Processes, McMaster University Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis Research Working Paper 01-04, June, 2001.

This PDF document presents a 5-page matrix of public participation and consultation methods, both deliberative and non-deliberative. Included are Citizens Juries, Citizens Panels, Planning Cells, Consensus Conferences, Deliberative Polling, focus groups, consensus building exercises, surveys, public hearings, open houses, Citizen Advisory Committees, community planning, visioning, and more.

Resource Link: http://www.vcn.bc.ca/citizens-handbook/compareparticipation.pdf

Case Study of the Danish Board of Technology Great for Beginners

Sandy Heierbacher. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2003.

The Board of Technology was established by the Danish Parliament in 1986 to help ensure that technology decisions are made wisely. In its assessments of technology issues, the Board makes use of expert knowledge as well as the insight and experience of non-expert citizens. Armed with this knowledge, the Board of Technology is able to serve as an independent source of high-quality advice and assessment to the Parliament regarding technology issues. The Board of Technology also encourages decision-makers and citizens to engage in informed debate and discussion about technology issues.

Resource Link: http://www.thataway.org/exchange/files/docs/Danish_Board_case.doc

Consensus Conference Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Consensus Conferences, developed in Denmark, are used in a variety of settings and typically involve a group of citizens with varied backgrounds who meet to discuss issues of a scientific or technical nature. The conference has two stages: the first involves small group meetings with experts to discuss the issues and work towards consensus. The second stage assembles experts, media and the public where the conferences main observations and conclusions are presented.

Evaluating the First U.S. Consensus Conference: The Impact of the Citizens' Panel on Telecommunications and the Future of Democracy

David H. Guston, Rutgers University. Science, Technology, & Human Values, Vol. 24, No. 4, 451-482 (1999). Sage Publications., 1999.

Consensus conferences, also known as citizens' panels - a collection of lay citizens akin to a jury but charged with deliberating on policy issues with a high technical content - are a potentially important way to conduct technology assessments, inform policy makers about public views of new technologies, and improve public understanding of and participation in technological decision making. The first citizens' panel in the United States occurred in April 1997 on the issue of "Telecommunications and the Future of Democracy." This article evaluates the impact of this citizens' panel.

Resource Link: http://sth.sagepub.com/cgi/content/short/24/4/451

© 2003-2007 National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation.
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