This toolkit only presents a sample of tools that may help to find out about and understand public views and values. Links to some other tools used to understand public views can be found in this section.
There are also many individuals and networks across government who should be able to provide further advice on many of the tools described here. These include:
• Government Social Research Profession
• Government Communication Service (GCS)
• Evidence focused colleagues
• Training and development opportunities focusing on Open Policy Making (OPM) or public engagement approaches
Social research aims to understand social phenomena in a systematic way. It employs a variety of methods that place an emphasis on identifying and understanding the perspectives of the participants being studied, and the social context of those participants.
General guidance for Social Research methods can be found in the Government Social Researchers code.
Design thinking aims to put the experience of public service users at the heart of policy design processes using new service design tools and techniques. Design thinking in policy is led across the UK civil service by Policy Lab based in the Cabinet Office.
You can read more about Policy Lab and their work here: https://openpolicy.blog.gov.uk/category/policy-lab/
Futures analysis allows policy makers to consider the impact of long-term uncertainty and trends on current policy. In the context of the long lead-times associated with some policy decisions, consideration of such long term effects is a factor in making informed decisions.
Futures analysis does not aim to predict or model the future, but instead provides a structure for thinking systematically about a range of future eventualities, to mitigate against the risks of unintended consequences and unexpected future events.
Futures analysis can complement conventional forms of analysis and shape short-term policies in a way that is consistent with addressing long-term challenges and trends. Futures analysis can be informed by public views, potentially using tools decribed here. the outputs from futures analysis can also provide stimulus material to tools to find out about and understand public views and values.
More information on futures analysis and the tools above can be found in the Futures Toolkit.
Fuller lists of tools that can be used for public engagement can be found at: