5. Deliberation around evaluative criteria
To be clear on the values that will guide the assessment of the different policy alternatives and to allow unspoken assumptions, red lines and prejudices to emerge.
Every decision is evaluated against a set of values that are all-too-often left untold and, in most cases, taken for granted. It is thus very important to make them explicit before embarking in the analysis of policy alternatives and, if possible, rank them according to the stakeholders’ preferences.
Value for money: how much will the proposed reform cost to the public treasury with regards to the quality/necessity of the services delivered?
Access and choice: Will the reform provide citizens’ with access to services or goods that they would otherwise not be able to access? To what extent will citizens’ choice be enlarged?
Fairness: Will the reform improve the situation of vulnerable groups or individuals?
Feasibility (administrative, political, social): Is the public sector capable of implementing the proposed policy or would it need major bureaucratic reforms? Is the reform palatable to politicians and their electorates? Are social structures ready to integrate the changes proposed in the policy reform?
Legality: Does de reform comply with international treaties and obligations?
Depending on the topic at stake, other evaluative criteria can be considered such as the environmental impact and sustainability or gender advancement, although the Dialogue Host will have to be selective when proposing new options, if only because the more variables analysed, the more complex that the final choice will become.
- Prejudices and assumptions that could hamper the adoption of feasible policy solutions are debunked.
- Problems framed by concrete evidence rather than preferences or biases, with a view to develop a shared understanding of the issues at stake.
- Trade-offs of policy alternatives assessed along several evaluative criteria that are made explicit through the dialogue.