Bloomfield, D.; Collins, K.; Fry, C. and Munton, R.
Deliberation and inclusion: vehicles for increasing trust in UK public governance?
Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 19(4),
Arguments in favour of participative democratic practices have been promoted stridently in recent years as trust in existing political institutions has receded. These arguments assume the declining ability of elected members to represent increasingly diverse constituencies in a period of rapid change, and a sense of powerlessness among citizens in the face of distant economic and political forces. There have been few attempts to review the available empirical evidence on whether deliberative and inclusionary processes lead to 'better' decisions. For the United Kingdom, evidence is limited, except in the land-use planning field, and we argue that in present circumstances their primary role should be to stimulate wider civil engagement as a means of restoring trust. 'Better' decisions will then follow. However, barriers to their acceptance remain, not least in the need to create sufficient incentive for citizens to participate and in the requirement that established economic and political interests devote sufficient resources for them to be effective.
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