Welcome to this new Demsoc space, where we’ll be talking about Open Policymaking.

On 19 June the Government’s Civil Service Reform Plan made a commitment to open policymaking. It said:

Open policy making will become the default. Whitehall does not have a monopoly on policy making expertise. We will establish a clear model of open policy making.

It’s a big commitment, and a very welcome one. As with all these things, however, there’s still a lot of thinking to be done on what that means in detail. Some of the big questions that occur to us are:

  • when does “policymaking” happen – is it just when a specific decision is being taken, or is it a continuous process?
  • what open policymaking is happening now, and what lessons can we learn from the UK and beyond?
  • how can we balance open policymaking and the role of a democratically accountable decision-maker?
  • what sorts of different tools to do you need for involving people in different ways and at different stages?
  • how can you ensure that policymakers are hearing a representative set of opinions?
  • what does open policymaking mean in local government, the NHS, and organisations delivering and designing services at local level?

Those – and many others – are the questions that we will be discussing here. The Cabinet Office, one of our project partners, is keen to explore some of the ways that digital platforms and tools, as well as behaviours and skills, can facilitate a more open approach to policy making.

We’re delighted to be working alongside the Cabinet Office to explore this. We will be working with them, and a number of other discussion partners to create a positive conversation and positive action. Our first contribution, from Ade Adewunmi who works in the Government Digital Service at the Cabinet Office, is below, but we are seeking contributions and expertise from a wide network of citizens, campaigning organisations, businesses, academics and officials. We want to produce a great discussion, but also useful, practical principles, tools and ideas that can be used across the public sector.

This is a space for discussion, questioning and participation – you can contribute by commenting right now and in the coming weeks we’ll be adding features that make the discussion even easier to follow. We’ll also be sharing highlights on Twitter (@Demsoc, hashtag #openpolicy), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/demsoc), and LinkedIn. You can follow the discussion by email – sign up to our project-specific mailing list to receive daily, weekly or monthly highlights, or just announcements about the project.

Finally, we will be developing this blog over the next few weeks. We will be expanding the view of the discussion beyond the site, creating a library of useful resources and examples, and creating a bookmarking tool so contributors can pin interesting articles and comments from elsewhere.

If you have any questions, suggestions or concerns, let us know at openpolicy@demsoc.org.

Welcome to our Open Policymaking discussion

3 thoughts on “Welcome to our Open Policymaking discussion

  • 27th September 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I work on Private Pension Policy and I am delivering legislative changes following a Supreme Court judgement.

    Having read through open policy making literature and the Cabinet Offices new guidelines on consultation – we have made the decision to involve the industry very early on in the process. We have shared are early thinking and are currently working with the industry to shape final outcomes. The major benefit is that the industry are the experts on the practical impacts – and are also good at defining gaps. Another reason this has worked so well is that we jointly defined the boundaries and agreed not to step outside of them. The industry has appreciated the openness of our approach which we feel in the long term has enable us to streamline timelines.


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