The DIY jury was developed by PEALS as a more bottom-up adaption of the well known citizens' jury deliberative technique. Like the citizens' jury it is a means of providing concerned citizens with information to allow them to develop arguments to influence those with power over their lives. First used in the US during the 1980s, they are based on the conviction that non-experts can make informed and important recommendations on issues concerning the current and future well-being of their fellow citizens. In order to be able to make those recommendations people need:
• clearly presented information from a number of perspectives
• an opportunity to interrogate them, and
• a facilitator who ensures balanced debate.
The concept of a 'Do-it-yourself' jury has been the subject of continuous action learning at PEALS since 2001. The first ever DIY jury was piloted on Tyneside in 2002, when a steering group of older people from the area chose to examine the subject of healthcare for the elderly, eventually focusing on the development of improved services for the prevention of, and treatment after, falls in the elderly. The Teach Yourself Citizens' Juries video and handbook enables community groups and other organisations to facilitate the running of their own Citizens' Juries in the future.
The jury project has developed the following juries over the years:
• a pilot project (DIY
Jury on Issues Prioritised by Older People) which concluded in January 2003;
• juries focusing on GM Jury which took place in both Tyneside and Hertfordshire in 2003;
• a jury concentrating on illegal drugs and alcohol in the North West of England.
To order a copy of the handbook and video/DVD Teach Yourself Citizens' Juries contact PEALS.