Headlines: June 13th, 2005

The Herefordshire Partnership has used a new system – part card game part policy-making tool – to develop its climate change policy. The Partnership, a cross sector forum that has drawn up the Herefordshire plan has made use of Democs – DEliberative Meeting Of CitizenS.Democs is produced by the new economics foundation to help local authorities and their partners to understand and discuss issues on climate change and to make them relevant to their work. It consists of information on cards dealt to people at various stages. They read them, select those they like and work together to create clusters of cards that make up a key theme or argument.

Using the game players identify and absorb the basic information they need to discuss complex issues that they might not have discussed before. The New Economics Foundation has developed Democs kits on a range of topics.

Richard Wood from the Herefordshire Partnership said: “What I like so much about Democs is that you can extract a great deal of information that is useful for policy-making at the same time as imparting lots of information. It’s a two-way thing.”

Democs can also simply allow a group to explore an issue, or enable members to seek common ground on what policies should be adopted. The NEF says it is ideal for use by groups of six people but will work with groups of between five and nine people. It can also be facilitated by an outside person or by group members themselves.