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Guiding Principles

This document outlines a set of guiding principles for public dialogue on science and technology-related issues. 

The guiding principles have been developed by the UK Government through its Sciencewise programme, in collaboration with policy makers, practitioners, academics and representatives of the scientific and business communities working in the areas of science policy and public engagement. 

The guidelines provide the basis of public dialogue activity carried out under Sciencewise-funded projects. In addition they provide guidance on best practice in dialogue activity, which Sciencewise recommends be adopted in all dialogue activity. They cover:

•    What is public dialogue?
•    Why carry out public dialogue?
•    Government's aims and objectives for public dialogue on policy involving science and technology
•    Sciencewise support
•    The five key principles for public dialogue, including that:
        •     the conditions leading to the dialogue process are conducive to the best outcomes (context)
        •     the range of issues and policy opinions covered in the dialogue reflects the participants’ interests (scope)
        •     the dialogue process itself represents best practice in design and execution (delivery)
        •     the dialogue can deliver the desired outcomes (impact)
        •     the process is shown to be robust and contributes to learning (evaluation).

In 2013, the Sciencewise Steering Group agreed some small revisions to the Guiding Principles, to reflect learning from evaluations and experience of public dialogue projects. These are available below. However, during 2013, some projects were established and evaluated under the previous Guiding Principles, and these are therefore also still available for reference below.

Download the current Guiding Principles (from 2013)

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