A form of Citizen Deliberative Council pioneered in Germany. It involves numerous simultaneous 25-person Citizens Juries (cells), all addressing the same subject. The randomly selected citizen participants spend much of their time in 5-person subgroups. The final statements from the numerous cells are collected up and integrated into one "Citizens' Report" which is delivered to the convening authority. See http://www.planet-thanet.fsnet.co.uk/groups/wdd/99_planning_cells.htm
How does it work?
Twenty-five people are picked at random through the official registration offices. These people serve more then 200 [person-]days working as paid jurors in Planning Cells (PCs). A successful PC is generally limited to a four-day time period, which is sufficient.
Each PC involves the following:
- A definite task: planning, evaluating problems or solutions, preparing new laws or necessary regulations,
- Relevant information: from all sides, by the best experts, vis-a-vis situations, hearings or on-site demonstrations,
- Paid time: citizens are free to discuss and to understand,
- A small group arena: five jurors sit together for a given period of time and exchange facts, views, and experiences; membership rotates at random [so] an individual is exposed to another four group members six times a day, and
- A fact-based expectation of acceptance of the groups proposals.
More than one PC is run, in order to produce reliable results which are accepted by the population and its politicians. Local problems usually need six PCs, whereas bigger problems call for 12. Recently, there have been projects utilizing 20-24 PCs. It is hoped that a time will come when millions of people every year will have the chance of participating in the solution of various public problems in different fields.
This instrument has remarkable effects not only on the output - the "Citizens Report" presents fully informed, innovative, acceptable recommendations - but also on the people involved.
Dienel, P. and O. Renn. "Planning cells: A gate to fractal mediation." In Renn, O, et al.Fairness and Competence in Citizen Participation. Boston: Klewer Academic (1995), pp. 117-140.
Abelson J, Forest P-G, Eyles J, Smith P, Martin E and Gauvin F-P. "Deliberations about Deliberation: Issues in the Design and Evaluation of Public Consultation Processes," Mc Master University Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis Research Working Paper 01-04, June 2001. A Review of Public Participation and Consultation Methods http://www.vcn.bc.ca/citizens-handbook/compareparticipation.pdf