Engaging citizens on economic policy: what role can deliberative methods play?

This seminar series is aimed at exploring the expanding world of deliberative research.
  • Event time:
    12th December 2023 09:00 – 10:00
  • Format:

How different would the UK Chancellor’s recent Autumn Statement have looked if the public had a say in its design? And what difference would this have made to how its reforms have been received? With this in mind, the latest in our ‘Deliberate’ seminar series focuses on how deliberative methods can and are being used to help develop economic policy.

At this event, we heard from Nicholas Gruen, CEO of Lateral Economics and formerly chair of the Australian Centre for Social Innovation, who has been described as ‘the most brilliant economist you’ve never heard of’ by Martin Wolf. Dr Chris Holmes, King’s College London, shared findings from his latest groundbreaking work on the Citizens’ Economic Council. And Isabel Lee, Bank of England, provided insight into how they have made huge changes in how they engage with the public, up and down the country.

The Deliberate seminar series aims to explore the theory and practice of deliberative research, its relationship to deliberative democracy and the impact it can have on citizens and policy. The seminars are designed to be informal, to provide an open space for networking and discussion, to listen and engage with likeminded professionals.


  • Christopher Holmes
    Senior Lecturer King’s College London
    Christopher Holmes is Senior Lecturer in International Political Economy at King’s College London. He recently led the Citizens’ Economic Council on the Cost of Living project, which applied deliberative research methods to a range of current UK fiscal policy issues. His research focuses on the role of economic ideas in public debate and policy.
  • Isabel Lee
    Head of Public and Stakeholder Engagement Bank of England
    Isabel Lee is the Interim Head of Public and Stakeholder Engagement at the Bank of England. The team is responsible for programmes and events that engage directly with members of the public, including schools, charities and community groups. We initiate conversations to understand the impact of the UK economy on individuals, and to raise awareness of the role the Bank plays.
  • Nicholas Gruen
    CEO Lateral Economics
    Nicholas Gruen is an independent scholar and CEO of Lateral Economics. He has written and spoken widely on the power of sortition and similar mechanisms to improve the quality of political and organisational deliberation. He is seeking to establish a standing citizen assembly funded initially by philanthropy but ultimately by government with its own constitutional role as a check and balance against the established institutions of government.


  • Ceri Davies
    Director of the Centre for Deliberation National Centre for Social Research
    View full profile

    Ceri is interested in how the public has a voice in the decisions that shape their lives – be that through democratic means, in policy development, understanding the implications of science and technology and influencing or contributing to the questions that researchers ask. 

    She has been working at the intersection of evidence and practice in public participation for over 15 years, through roles in community development, in social research and on not-for-profit boards. The creation and her leadership of the Centre for Delberation continues this general theme – with a focus on bringing social science rigour to an innovative range of research on public attitudes and policy making in the context of democratic innovation.

    The Centre's current work tackles large scale societal issues, such as Brexit, the environment and inequalities, bringing diverse perspectives into conversation with evidence at local and national scales, to explore complex or contentious social issues that impact policy, support the articulation of social attitudes and make a difference to society. Alongside this, the Centre is a national leader in methodological developments, particularly the use of online methods - and provides fresh thinking on how deliberative research can respond to big societal questions now and in the future.    This includes experimental work such as our ground-breaking online Deliberative Polls on post-Brexit policy making and participating in the Rethinking Public Dialogue programme to explore how deliberation might be scaled through creating rapid and accessible formats. 

    With a background in academia and civil society, Ceri previously led the University of Brighton’s Community Knowledge Exchange (2008-2018) and completed her doctorate exploring knowledge and power in participatory research on issues of social justice. She is a volunteer at Sussex Nightstop (a small charity developing community-based responses to homelessness), an associate editor of Research For All and an advisory board member of the Citizens Convention on UK Democracy.

  • Suzanne Hall
    Director of Engagement Policy Institute King’s College London
    Suzanne is a highly skilled qualitative researcher with 20 years of public policy research experience. She led the qualitative research team at Ipsos MORI, an independent research agency, from 2013, and in that role was responsible for skills development, growing the business and embedding new and innovative approaches to solving policy problems with a focus on deliberative, participatory, ethnographic and digital methodologies.