The citizen panel

Panel of citizens that act like a permanent citizen jury that APS agencies can consult. A Citizens' Panel is a demographically representative group of citizens regularly used to assess public preferences and opinions.

Rather than just an opinion poll through a telephone call, they could also engage in deliberative mechanisms akin to the citizen’s jury undertaken previously in South Australia and recently in Canberra.   A panel would be convened over a period of time to learn about, discuss and reach agreement on contentious public issues.

One panel could be created to cover the entire APS, similar to the Irish Citizen’s Assembly (see below) or panels could be used at a portfolio level.  Department’s would set the issues to be deliberated upon. Panels would provide no-binding recommendations.

Panel members would be randomly selected ensuring that they are representative and would be volunteers being reimbursed for travel expenses and a per diem. 

One approach could be to establish a database of potential panel members with expertise on particular topics. Public servants could then draw from this database and match expert panel members to the problem at hand (e.g., calling on manufacturers for manufacturing industry issues)

Panel members can meet in person or online depending on the nature and severity of the problem.

The panel’s output will form part of the business case that is put forward to the government.


Why the contribution is important

A citizen panel is a way of access expertise rather than just opinion.  It is a mechanism that has been used domestically and internationally to take into account unique and useful perspectives from outside of the APS.  The approach has been shown to deliver a consensus outcome across contentious issues.

by ProjectTeam on April 13, 2018 at 01:19PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.8
Based on: 6 votes


  • Posted by diisisit April 20, 2018 at 10:13

    This part of this proposal concerns me, "Panels would provide no-binding recommendations." The panel would just ask, what's the point?

    The ACT Government recently held a citizens panel on changes to the CTP Insurance. The Jury CHOSE the new scheme. The jury's decision appears to be binding. Why should this good idea be limited by a no-binding recommendation?
  • Posted by yoyo April 20, 2018 at 11:24

    I think there are situations where you wouldn't want it to be binding (boatie mcboatface) but other situations where it should be binding. But in general this sort of consultation is highly valuable because you receive input from the "person on the street". If executive remuneration tribunals and the like had this more representative composition, there would be some much better outcomes in this country.
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