A Citizen Deliberative Council (CDC) is a temporary council of citizens convened to deliberate about public concerns (either about a specific issue or the general state of the community and its future) and to provide guidance for officials and the public. Although 'citizen deliberation' happens in many forms, a Citizen Deliberative Council is a special form of deliberation structured and convened to inform officials and the public about what The People as a whole really want.
These councils are appearing around the world and have the potential to make governmental systems more answerable, effective and wise.
Citizen Deliberative Councils are liberating latent and previously untapped levels of collective intelligence within civil society and applying that intelligence to the formulation of public policy around the globe.
Seven characteristics shared by every citizen deliberative council are:
- It is an organized face-to-face assembly.
- It is made up of people selected so that their collective diversity fairly reflects the diversity of the larger community from which they were chosen. (In this context, 'community' means any coherent civic population, whether a block, a citizen's organization, a city, a province, a country, or any other such public grouping).
- It is convened temporarily, for a limited number of days - almost always for more than a single day - usually a few days to a week of actual meetings, sometimes distributed over several weeks.
- Its members deliberate as peer citizens, setting aside any other role or status they may have.
- It has an explicit mandate to address public issues or the concerns of its community.
- It uses forms of dialogue, usually facilitated, that enable its diverse members to really hear each other, to expand and deepen their understanding of the issues involved and to engage together in seeking creative ways their community might address those issues.
- At its conclusion, it issues findings and/or recommendations to concerned officials and to the larger community from which its members came and to which they return when their reports are submitted. Usually there is an expectation of further community dialogue stimulated by the report, and this is sometimes intentionally included as part of the overall process.
For more information see