Voice & vote – let’s go beyond public consultation

What’s new in the initiative:

We’ve published case studies of deliberative participatory processes from
Active Citizens Fund beneficiary countries and others 📚 Read the publication

Polish version >>> see here

The regional initiative „Voice & vote – let’s rise above public consultation” was implemented with the financial support of the Active Citizens Fund, a program funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA and Norwegian Funds 2014-2021. We created a space to exchange knowledge and compare experiences and perspectives from different European countries. Initiative was led by Shipyard Foundation, a member of a consortium running the Active Citizen Fund Poland (ACF Poland). The invitation was extended primarily to ACF Grantees from beneficiary countries, but also to anyone interested in the topic.

Recent years have brought an international discussion on the challenges of involving citizens in decision-making processes: how to ensure a greater diversity of participants and the possibility for different views to resonate? How to get qualitative findings? How to address difficult and controversial topics in an increasingly polarized society?

In the search for new approach, local governments and community organizations have started to turn to methods, using random sampling, ensuring representativeness, a longer process, incorporating deliberation based on expert knowledge*. Assemblies, councils or citizens’ juries are thus used. We can see that there is no turning point from this path. The European Union has even made it compulsory to include citizens’ panels in the process of making important legal changes.

We wanted to search for and exchange knowledge about good, advanced deliberative initiatives that present more complex participative methods. As such we treated processes like:

  • citizen’s assemblies, that use random sampling to create a group of participants that match the population, have experts to present the remit and use deliberation as a tool for a better discussion,
  • more complex, long lasting processes, such as citizen’s juries and citizen’s councils, that also use randomisation, deliberations and expertise.

What has happened?

A webinar – June 29th 2023

We talked about the good practices in the field of deliberative processes and shared first reflections related to local challenges in the beneficiary countries.

Presentation from the webinar: part 1 (introduction) and part 2 (good practices)

Desk research – July–August 2023

🕵️ During the summer we’ve been collecting examples of deliberative processes from the Active Citizens Funds support area. We were interested in processes which:

  • use methods of sampling/group representation,
  • contain an educational and deliberative part,
  • are prolonged in time and use more involving methods,
  • end with a verdict.

📚 You can download our publication here!

A two-day live meeting – September 18–19th 2023, Warsaw, Poland

The aim of the meeting was primarily to learn about examples of deliberative participatory processes from the Active Citizens Funds support area and to exchange experiences. During the meeting, we created a space for joint reflection on the shape of these processes and their impact on democratic practices in individual countries, as well as on solutions that bring the best results in terms of the quality of conversation on public issues. We also envisaged a section dedicated to networking and relationship building.

We presented and discussed:

The meeting is primarily open to ACF grantees from the beneficiary countries, that are involved in participatory processes and seeking methods for in-depth, qualitative conversations on public issues, but also to anyone interested in this topic. The meeting will be held in English.

Presentations from the meeting:

Here you can download the program:

1st DAY

2nd DAY

Our partners

Our Initiative is run in collaboration with group of partners from:

  • ACF Czech Republic,
  • The Participatory Factory, Czech Republic,
  • ACF Estonia,
  • ACF Lithuania,
  • ACF Poland,
  • Regional ACF Poland,
  • ACF Portugal.


* For the purpose of better understanding the subject, we will refer to the OECD publication “Catching the deliberative wave”. They understand the wave as a process, where: Public authorities from all levels of government increasingly turn to Citizens’ Assemblies, Juries, Panels and other representative deliberative processes to tackle complex policy problems ranging from climate change to infrastructure investment decisions. They convene groups of people representing a wide cross-section of society for at least one full day – and often much longer – to learn, deliberate, and develop collective recommendations that consider the complexities and compromises required for solving multifaceted public issues. We would like to create space for exchanging knowledge, comparing different countries and perspectives and learning from each other on the European level (AO beneficiary countries oriented) and see if and how we, in our countries, catch the deliberative wave.

Polish version >>> see here

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