MosaicLab Monthly Community Engagement Myth - Decision Makers and deliberative engagement processes

Welcome to MosaicLab's first ever #MonthlyMyth post.  There are a number of myths and misconceptions that often surface in relation to facilitation, deliberative democracy, outrage management, conflict management and community engagement more broadly. 

As part of our work to promote quality engagement practice and share information and learning we are addressing some of the most common myths and misconceptions each month on our blog.  We hope you find this series interesting, informative, and perhaps a little surprising!

We're kicking off with a myth that often surfaces in relation to deliberative processes.  


When you undertake a deliberative process, decision makers no longer have any decision-making role.


Deliberative processes are a form of community engagement that see those participating in the process have a higher level of influence over the outcome than may have otherwise been the case.  Naturally, this can sometimes cause concern around the role of the 'decision maker'. 

While the commitment of the decision makers needs to be quite high, in most cases the recommendations from a jury or panel (a randomly selected, representative 'mini-public') are sent to very senior decision makers for consideration or final approval.  When referring to the IAP2's Public Participation Spectrum,  the level of engagement is collaborate rather than empower.

These processes intentionally try to give more influence to citizens.  They require the decision maker to be brave, but not to give up total control, and the decision maker certainly doesn't become obsolete. Additionally, MosaicLab always ensures when facilitating a deliberative process that decision makers have considered input into process design and development.

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