IOG Workshop on Deliberation

2 day eventIn Ottawa, ON
  • January 10, 20198:30am - 4:30pm
  • January 11, 20198:30am - 4:30pm
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The Workshop - What is Deliberation?

Deliberation is about consultation and public engagement, but goes far beyond usual practice. Deliberation engages stakeholders in a structured dialogue, based on agreed rules, to collaborate in shared solutions and agreed trade-offs between competing values and interests.

The IOG is delighted to collaborate on the delivery of this two-day workshop on Deliberation with Dr. Don Lenihan, a recognized leader in Canada’s engagement movement who has written extensively on the design and management of deliberative processes. You can read some of his writings published in the the National Newswatch here:

Engaging on Trans Mountain: What “Meaningful Consultation” Is and Is Not

The Supreme Court vs. Doug Ford: Two Visions of Democratic Leadership

Don is currently co-chairing (with Australia) the Open Government Partnership’s Practice Group on Open Dialogue and Deliberation, which includes 14 experts from seven countries. The group is collaborating on a two-volume guide to the design and delivery of deliberative process. Don also serves as the principal writer.

This two-day workshop from the Institute on Governance and based on the OGP Practice Group’s research will equip government managers and professionals, professionals from civil society organizations, and others working for public and not-for-profit organizations with the concepts, skills, and tools they need to engage stakeholders and citizens. The process – and the results – of the engagement are seen as fairer, more open, transparent, meaningful, and productive.

Click here to see Don discussing the workshop.

Specifically, the workshop will:

  • Introduce you to the concept of deliberation as a rules-based approach to open policy-making;
  • Teach you how to design a deliberative process that matches your stakeholders’ needs and expectations;
  • Ensure high standards of evidence-based decision-making: and
  • Explore how to engage stakeholders in making trade-offs and setting priorities in ways that are reasonable and fair.

The take-aways you can expect include:

  • A solid grasp of the foundational concepts of public engagement, such as the difference between consultation, deliberation, and collaboration;
  • Tests for determining where and when deliberation is needed; and
  • Tools to design and scale effective deliberative processes.

You will be introduced to in-class and online examples and case studies that explain key aspects of the approach. Attendees will also participate in group exercises to deepen their grasp of key concepts.

Who should attend?

  • Managers and professionals in the federal public service;
  • Managers and professionals from civil society organizations; and
  • Professionals working for other public and not-for-profit / volunteer / charitable organizations.

More About the Two-Day Workshop on Deliberation

Public engagement experts distinguish between traditional consultation processes, on one hand, and deliberation, on the other. In consultation, government gathers citizens’ and/or stakeholders’ views, then uses them to inform its internal decision-making. In deliberation, government not only asks the public for their views but encourages them to engage one another in detailed and informed exchanges.

This workshop teaches the skills and tools to build a broad collaborative approach to reaching decisions and sharing outcomes.

These exchanges can range from informal dialogue sessions to deep analysis. The former could include a facilitated community meeting where participants present and comment on one another’s views; express support for different positions, and even vote on different options. At the other end of the spectrum, participants are engaged in a structured dialogue that guides participants toward agreement on complex issues by, for example, weighing evidence, setting priorities, or getting participants to make trade-offs between competing interests.

Deliberation is not new. Governments have always used it in policy-making, but they usually do so internally and behind closed doors. Typically, this might involve a committee of elected officials or a team of policy experts. Such processes are sometimes supported by public consultation, but efforts to involve the public in the deliberative stage of the process are rare.

Many managers and professionals need new approaches to public engagement and consultation. There are challenging questions that have to be tackled:

  • How large can a group be and still engage in meaningful deliberation?
  • What should the process leaders do if the participants become divided on an issue and fail to reach agreement?
  • What happens if the participants arrive at answers that are unacceptable to the government / organization, for example, by requiring resources it does not have or pursuing a goal it regards as unattainable?
  • What type of process is best for which issues?
  • Is deliberation better than consultation?
  • How do online tools change the situation?

How will the workshop work?

This two-dayworkshop will allow participants to delve into these and other questions and develop the answers that match their organization’s consultation needs and practices.

The session will be divided into two main parts: Concepts and Process Design:

Concepts:The first half of Day One involves an assessable introduction to the conceptual foundations of deliberation, as a form of public engagement. Participants will learn about how deliberation differs from consultation; and how it can resolve complex issues that traditional consultation cannot. The “theory” from this session provides an essential foundation for the remaining day and a half, which will provide a roadmap for designing deliberative processes.

Process Design: This part of the course puts the concepts from Part I to work through a systematic approach to analyzing an issue and designing a deliberative process to address it. Participants will learn how to design good deliberative processes by acquiring the foundational design skills, anticipate key issues that can arise along the way, and provide best practices to help practitioners respond to them. At the same time, participants will learn how to tailor the deliberation approach to the specific needs of their organization.

The workshop is fast-paced and highly interactive. Don’s approach mixes concepts with lots of examples and cases drawn from first-hand experience. The session will equip you with state-of-the-art tools to help plan, design, deliver and evaluate deliberative processes.

The IOG’s Goal

Our goal is to provide you with a new and comprehensive picture of deliberative processes that changes how you think about public engagement. Deliberation lets you see engagement in a new light and shows you how it can lead to real progress on some of our most intractable issues.

What you'll leave with:

  • A clear understanding of how different types of consultative processes, including Deliberation, shape stakeholder behaviour and expectations;
  • A framework of questions that help you match the right process with your stakeholders’ needs and expectations;
  • A new understanding of how to make dialogue processes more evidence-based;
  • A model to scale deliberative processes to include large numbers of people; and
  • Examples and cases that illustrate all the above.

Click Here to Register

More about the event

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Dr. Don Lenihan

Dr. Don Lenihan

President and Chief Executive Officer, Middle Ground Policy Research

Dr. Don Lenihan is an internationally recognized expert on public engagement, Open Government, and democracy with more than 25 years of experience developing policy through public engagement processes, as a project leader, writer, speaker, senior government adviser, trainer, and facilitator. He lives in Ottawa, Canada.

Don is currently a co-chair (with Australia) of the Open Government Partnership’s Practice Group on Open Dialogue and Deliberation. The group includes 14 members from seven countries and is developing a model of deliberation and a guide for designing deliberative processes. This work draws heavily on Don’s experience in the area and he is the principal writer on the project.

Don is also currently advising The Ottawa Hospital on a community-wide engagement process to develop its new Civic Campus, a $2 billion, 10-year project that will engage stakeholders and citizens in a deliberative process on development of the 50-acre, heritage site where the new campus will be located.

Don’s experience with engagement includes leading an expert group process for the United Nations (UN) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on public engagement models to support the post-2015 UN agenda on sustainable development. He also served as Chair of the Open Government Engagement Team for the Government of Ontario. He is currently advising The Ottawa Hospital on an engagement plan for development of its new Civic Campus, which is a $2 billion, 10-year project.

Don is the author of numerous articles, studies, and books, and for four years wrote a weekly column for National Newswatch, Canada’s preeminent political opinion website. His most recent book, Rescuing Policy: The Case for Public Engagement, is an introduction to the field of public engagement as well as a sustained argument for the need to rethink the public policy process. He earned his PhD in political theory from the University of Ottawa.

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Institute on Governance
60 George St.
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 1J4