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Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Creating a Citizen Participation Service and other ideas: reimagining government for better climate policy

As a country, the UK remains committed to achieving net zero by 2050. Meeting this goal will require choices, adaptations and changes throughout our society and economy. Whilst politicians, business and industry are influencing the big decisions on how we get there, citizens have had little say.

The UK Climate Change Committee and the UK government’s independent review of net zero stressed an urgent need for the public to have a much larger role in net zero.

They recommended that government publish a public engagement strategy on climate change. This policy briefing presents tangible ideas for how this strategy could be implemented.

It makes the case for why public participation is critical to achieving a sustainable future and explains how government can be re-engineered to bring citizen participation into the heart of national decision making – for climate policy and beyond.

What’s in the paper?

  • Part 1: Why public participation in climate policy is essential
  • Part 2: How to revamp public participation for climate policy
  • Part 3: How to reform the machinery of government to harness public participation
  • Part 4: A flagship participation programme for climate policy

This paper explains how public participation can improve national policy, long-term decision making and increase democratic legitimacy and trust.

Taking a practical approach it examines how the wide range of tools available for harnessing citizen’s collective intelligence and explores how, and in what circumstances, they can best be used.

Examining how public participation can be embedded in climate policy at a national level, it suggests three models for restructuring central government - a Public Participation Secretariat, new public bodies and at most ambitious, a Citizen Participation Service.

Finally, it outlines the contours of a flagship participation programme for climate policy covering digital infrastructure, citizen science, participatory budgeting and other proposals.


Kathy Peach

Kathy Peach

Kathy Peach

Director of the Centre for Collective Intelligence Design

The Centre for Collective Intelligence Design explores how human and machine intelligence can be combined to develop innovative solutions to social challenges

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