Our Approach to Deliberation
The approach to our COVID-19 deliberations series is an innovation based on methods developed by our team in 2006 and used in 25 different events in Australia, Canada, the US, and the UK. Our hybrid model incorporates a range of deliberative models to co-create recommendations on timely policy matters. Due to the unprecedented impact of the global pandemic, however, we have adapted our face-to-face approach and moved our deliberations online for the first time. As British Columbia adapts its pandemic response in Phase 3, including easing some of the social and economic restrictions, public input is critical. In moving our deliberations online, we have tried to preserve as much of the in-person aspects as possible. Nevertheless there are risks of using video conferencing platforms, such as excluding people who don’t have access to technology or are less comfortable with the technology.
It is always a challenge to bring people from diverse backgrounds into deliberations, which is why our recruitment process takes into account income, geographic region and other factors of diversity.
We have not taken these decisions lightly. In various ways, the extended team has been meeting daily, and we have been taking advice from our colleagues across the globe. We are carefully designing these deliberations so that others can use and modify our approach as appropriate for their own context. Our goal is for this deliberative engagement to provide a voice for British Columbians and help inform emerging government policies and practices related to COVID-19. We anticipate this will not be the only time that a fast and focused deliberative public engagement will be important for pandemic policy, but this is the first time.
None of this is possible without your conscientious participation. We deeply appreciate the time you commit to reading the materials, articulating your own views and listening to others. It is important, and the basis for the legitimacy of your advice, that you work with other participants to advise policy makers what you collectively consider to be the best way forward. Your reasons and explicit acknowledgement of the risks and trade-offs in COVID-19 planning strengthen the advice you provide about how we must act together in the management of this pandemic.