The Royal Society for Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA) is a network of leading change-makers in the UK. They recognised that “the economy is an issue that the public recognise as of primary importance, but feel they have little agency and authority over”. RSA saw that there was a severe democratic deficit when it came to economic policy that had led to increasing distrust of government, particularly after the 2008 financial crisis and the resulting austerity measures.
Public deliberation about economic policy is important, not only because it shapes better and more informed policies, but also because “deliberation helps us to explore citizen values and voices, promotes transparency about economic priorities, promotes stronger awareness and education about economics and ultimately strengthens democracy and debate”.
RSA therefore developed a Citizen’s Economic Council where 54 UK citizens undertook a 2-year process of deliberation on the economy, it’s outcomes and co-creating policy with policymakers.
“Its uniqueness lies in its focus on exploring national economic priorities and values and engaging citizens in shaping and advocating for economic policy ideas — ensuring that economics is made accessible and engaging for everyone”.
At the launch of the Citizen’s Economic Council final report and recommendations, Andy Haldane, Chief Economist of Bank of England was so impressed by the initiative that he committed to setting up regional citizen councils to help better inform economic policy making across the country.