An examination of public dialogue in science and technology policy
This report makes recommendations for how public consultation can be fed into policy debates in science and technology. The UK based study draws from four case studies and a twenty-two respondent web survey. The case studies were the public dialogue activities run for the 2003 Energy White Paper; those around the use of sex selection organised by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority; those surrounding the UK BioBank, a population biomedical sample collection; and three run by the Food Standards Agency. There were recommendations for policy centred around four themes. Firstly, preserving capacity, that of the public to engage in consultations and of contractors to provide the consultations needed. Secondly, clarity and planning, that there needed to be clarity in how the consultation could affect policy and all possible outcomes needed to be considered. Thirdly, synthesis of policy, that organisations should reflect on the transparency of their policy process when combining numerous streams of evidence. Finally, evaluation and learning, that there was little external evaluation of projects or explicit sharing of lessons learned.