solving complex, statewide issues

VICHEALTH CITIZENS’ JURY ON OBESITY


Project snapshot

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  

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, and
  • create an enabling environment for stronger government action.

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


Tools for success 

This innovative process 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.    

“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
 

VicHealth and MosaicLab were presented with the IAP2 Australasia 2016 Core Values Award for Health for this 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
 
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Outcomes 

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

Further outcomes have included: 

  • a number of ‘asks’ have been progressed by VicHealth, 
  • there has been broad media coverage touching on issues discussed by the jury such as a ‘Sugar Tax’,
  • 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.  For example, the Victorian Government recently mandated that kilojoule information be on fast food menus in line with an ‘ask’ presented by the jury.


“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

Want more?

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

Photos: VicHealth (source)