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We have always been strong proponents of participatory democracy, most specifically using the model of citizen assemblies (aka citizen juries, deliberative mini-publics). In this model, a randomly selected group of people comes together to learn, deliberate, and make recommendations on complex policy issues over multiple days. The above video shows Feedback Frames being used for the first time in such an assembly.

In October 2022, 21 randomly selected residents of Cheshire East UK were brought together to form the Cheshire East People’s Panel on the Cost of Living. The purpose was for a diverse group of residents to make recommendations to ease the effects of the increasing cost of living. The panellists met over two weekends to discuss “What can be done to make life more affordable for those most affected by the rising cost of living?” and to develop a set of recommendations to present to Cheshire East Council. In March 2023, the Council approved 10 of the 12 panel’s recommendations.

The project was supported by Cheshire East Council and the not-for-profit campaign and research organisation Positive Money. The process was designed and facilitated by Andy Paice, an independent facilitator with several years of experience leading participatory democracy events.

Andy describes the use of Feedback Frames as a key part of the People’s Panel process he facilitated:

We used the Feedback Frames recently for the Cheshire East People’s Panel on the Cost of Living, and they worked a treat. At the end of the process, each participant was given a small cup of counters to vote on each recommendation. We were able to create a prioritized list quickly in a very engaging and interactive way without needing online tools and without anyone being influenced by how others had voted, as no one could see the results until they were revealed. It was fun!

The frames could be used at different stages in a deliberative process. I think they could also work well before finalizing recommendations to check buy-in, elicit strengths and concerns, and give everyone a say before a final draft. I definitely plan to use them again in future workshops.

See the full video and learn more at cheshireeastpeoplespanel.co.uk

Lady holding Feedback Frames with results showing

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