solving complex, statewide issues

VIDEO: Highlights of Victoria's Citizens' Jury on Obesity.


In 2015 MosaicLab was engaged to independently design and facilitate discussions and activities for both the online and face to face components of the VicHealth Citizens’ Jury on Obesity.  The process asked 100 everyday Victorians respond to the following remit: ‘We have a problem with obesity. How can we make it easier to eat better?’

Obesity is a difficult, contentious and complex issue.  Despite the ongoing efforts of public health organisations, the obesity crisis continues to worsen.  In order to identify actions to battle this critical problem, an innovative, consensus- building process was developed.  The process was designed to: 

  • put everyday Victorians in the driver’s seat,
  • mobilise communities and individuals to take action,
  • encourage industry to initiate change,
  • create an enabling environment for stronger government action.
“Great opportunity to understand and be part of a public jury process. [We were] interested to understand consumers’ views on tackling obesity and work with other stakeholders to try and achieve this.”
— Steering group member

The jury presented 20 ‘asks’ (or requests for action) to the steering group and the steering group publicly responded to the jury’s ‘asks’ in December 2015  (view the response here). 

A number of ‘asks’ have been progressed by VicHealth in line with the commitments made in the Steering Group’s response, there has been broad media coverage touching on issues discussed by the jury such as a ‘Sugar Tax’ and VicHealth and public health advocates have had the opportunity to refer to the jury’s relevant supporting ‘ask’ (e.g. a tax on unhealthy foods).

A range of other actions are being progressed by other agencies (e.g. Victorian Government recently mandated that kilojoule information be on fast food menus in line with an ‘ask’ presented by the jury). 

“In an environment where expertise and knowledge traditionally sits with academics, committing to a process that put everyday citizens in the driver’s seat, invited different perspectives and limited and censoring represented a truly disruptive innovation.”
— Kimbra White, MosaicLab Facilitator

On 18th October 2016 the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) and MosaicLab were presented with the IAP2 Australasia 2016 Core Values Award for Health for the project. Explore all the winning projects in the IAP2 Core Values Awards Showcase.

“The actual discussion face to face brought practical real life examples of issues that I had only read about.”
— Juror

The innovative, intensive process developed included: 

  • opportunities for the wider Victorian public to get involved through a VicHealth/Herald Sun poll (eliciting 2580 responses – a record for a Herald Sun poll) and a digital #ShowUsYourFridge #Shelfie campaign,
  • invitations to key stakeholders to provide submissions of evidence for the jury’s consideration (resulting in 64 submissions),
  • six weeks of online jury deliberation using a custom-designed collaboration platform. 
  • the jurors coming together to consider additional evidence, consolidate their views and develop their final ‘asks’ (actions),
  • the incorporation of a steering group representing key government, industry, public health and community decision makers and convened by VicHealth.    

Photos: VicHealth (source).

Want more?

Delve deeper into this process as we share our insights and learnings over here on our blog.