Background to the project
When the UK Government responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by instituting a lockdown in March 2020 this marked one of the most abrupt changes of public policy in a generation. And so four organisations - Traverse, the Ada Lovelace Institute, Involve and Bang the Table - came together to trial a new model of rapid, online deliberation that would enable citizens to feed in to the development of policy for moving out of lockdown. At the time of the debate in May 2020 a first version of the contact tracing app was just being trialled on the Isle of Wight, shops and pubs were still closed, and the picture looked very different.
What we did
We ran an entirely remote process where 28 citizens met online over three weeks to debate the social, ethical and technical boundaries for using technology to exit lockdown. We worked to the same deliberative principles we would use for any complex and uncertain topic, adapting our methods to fit the constraints of lockdown. You can read more about our methodology and what we learnt in our learning report here..
What we found out
As we publish the findings of this project we've passed through the first phase of the pandemic and into a new world. A new (and much improved) version of the contact tracing app is being trialled on the Isle of Wight again, and in Newham in London, we've all got to grips with the term 'second wave', and the news cycle has moved on from Dominic Cummings trip to Barnard Castle to A-level results. The messages we heard in the dialogue, about the importance of transparency, trust and equlity, apply now more than ever. To find out more you can:
Or watch the discussion in this recording of our findings webinar.