Department of Premier and Cabinet – A Vibrant and Safe Nightlife for Adelaide (2013)

In April 2013, the Foundation was appointed by the Department of Premier and Cabinet to conduct a Citizens Jury to complement other measures and policy responses linked to alcohol related violence.

In all spheres of government, it can occur that good decisions don’t get made for fear of the political cost through a vox pop response. The Citizens Jury, comprised of randomly selected citizens not affiliated to a party, not up for re-election, and not linked to lobbyists nor interest groups thus has the power to act as a final filter to ensure worthwhile policy options have the chance to be publicly considered. Their judgment has fewer perceived impairments and has been shown to earn greater public trust.

A great deal of traditional community engagement involves draft reports written by departments, with feedback from town hall sessions going back within those departments and often leaving participants unsatisfied that they have been substantively heard. The promise to the community in this project is unambiguous: you can start from a blank sheet, solicit expert advice of your choosing, and be confident that your views are provided unaltered to the parliament for your representatives to consider and respond to.

Key to the design is framing an open question that does not prescribe solutions or a narrowed outlook from the outset, so the randomly selected jury of citizens will be asked to look at how they can ensure they have a vibrant and safe city. This frees the citizens to look at the question as broadly as possible. Equally important, the group is given considerable time and control over the provision of information.

The jury will meet in-person five times between July and October for full day meetings, and be complemented by an ongoing private discussion area and online library. As with other projects listed here, the Jury’s self-written recommendations will be published here at the conclusion of the process. Critically, the level of authority agreed to by the Premier will see the recommendations go directly to Cabinet as well as being tabled, verbatim, in Parliament. This is an unprecedented level of direct citizen connection to the considerations of government.

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