Sunday, October 18, 2015

Citizens' Jury Day Two

Today was an incredibly full-on day, as 80-odd people tried to reach consensus on our final "asks". Hated that term "ask", but I guess it is bureaucracy-speak for request or recommendation. Consensus was defined as more than 80% of the participants being able to at least live with it. (Other possible levels of approval: love it, like it, live with it, lament it, loathe it.)

I promised pictures of the food, so here you are. Morning tea:
Not much of a picture, but the items were inside the paper bags. There was also tea, coffee and juice to drink. Not just water!

Sushi, rice-paper rolls, salads, fruit, and some sandwiches which didn't show up in the photo. It was all yummy, and healthy! No cakes, no chocolate (although to be honest, by afternoon tea time each day I really wanted some chocolate. It was so stressful!)

I didn't get a photo of afternoon tea, but it was mainly fruit.

One one side of the room there was an eye-opening display:
And the winner was Solo with 17 teaspoons of sugar in a 600ml bottle. Coke wasn't far behind with 16.

The first half of the day was for writing up the "asks" in small groups. But the noise level in the room where all the discussions was going on was too much for me. The group I was in had the hardest "ask" to work on. It had had about 10 other suggestions rolled into it, and distilling it all down into something concise and precise was a huge challenge. At one point I just had to leave the room and try to find some quiet. I went for a walk around the small park across the road, where I envied the calmness of this lady doing tai-chi exercises:

After lunch there were some more small-group discussions where we could "reality-check" our "asks" with members of the steering group (representatives of various organisations with interests in this area), and then it was time for the final vote to see which "asks" achieved 80% approval. That was a stress-filled process, as you might imagine. Early on people wanted to debate and refine and re-word the asks, but by the end there wasn't time, and we just had to vote on them "as is". I was very disappointed that one of the asks I really was in favour of was voted out at this stage, despite having received over 80% approval at earlier stages (previous votes a couple of weeks ago, and yesterday). But there was no time to find out why suddenly its approval had dropped to about 75%. Perhaps we could have re-worded it slightly to get it over the line, but there wasn't an opportunity. Several of the jurors who felt strongly about that issue have added it as a "minority report" to the final submission.

So then it was all over, and time to go home. I gradually relaxed as I left the city behind, and am very happy to be home again in the quiet!

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