Amplified Meetings and Participatory Deliberation…

So according to the Guardian (David Cameron tells civil servants he wants to ‘turn government on its head’, via @neillyneil), it seems that:

[David Cameron] told a civil service conference in London that he wants to replace what he described as “the old system of bureaucratic accountability” with a democratic accountability “to the people, not the government machine”.

As part of that, every government department will be required to publish structural reform plans setting out how they will put “people in charge, not politicians”.

So I’m wondering… maybe there are certain boards and committees that might benefit from opening their processes to public view, not just for transparency but also so that folk who are interested (and maybe qualified) can contribute too…? After all, select committees formally solicit views from witnesses called to present evidence to the committee; so why not also require other committees to do the same, although in a more casual way? I started doodling some ideas on this topic in a blog post yesterday (Using WriteToReply to Publish Committee Papers. Is an Active Role for WTR in Meetings Also Possible?), essentially around the idea that by opening up committee papers before a meeting, comments could be solicited from the interested, and optionally drawn on in the meeting itself.

(I’ve never really understood why the business of meetings is required to take place in a particular location at a particular time…?)

By amplifying the business of a committee, both before and after its meetings, the members of the committee also get to draw on the combined wisdom of whoever happens to be following the business of the committee, or who is interested in it, if they wish; and by opening up the closed walls of the committee, we allow the potential for participatory deliberation of the matters at hand.

After all, why should it only be conferences that get amplified online?

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

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