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PCI and NPCC Launching a "Public Solutions System"

For the past several years, the Policy Consensus Initiative (PCI) and the National Policy Consensus Center (NPCC) have been developing an approach to collaborative governance for states that can be adapted and applied to complex policy issues in which multiple sectors have a stake in the outcomes, and no single entity can produce a solution on its own. The model is based on lessons from the past 30 years about what makes collaborative processes legitimate and effective. This “Public Solutions System” is not intended to replace existing, traditional systems of state decision making. Rather, it serves as an option for state leaders to use on a more routine basis when difficult public issues – issues that cannot be resolved by government alone – need to be approached collaboratively. A fundamental component of the Public Solutions System is the new role it offers leaders – that of convener. Unlike a policymaker, the role of convener involves bringing together all the key sectors – public, private and civic – to develop effective, lasting solutions to public problems that go beyond what any sector could achieve on its own. Rather than deciding for people, leaders in the convener role make decisions with people, giving all impacted stakeholders a key role in problem solving and strategy implementation. The Public Solutions System involves a set of core principles that ensure democratic practices are followed; an “Operating System” that ensures best practices are employed; and a network of leaders as conveners, along with sponsors, practitioners, and neutral forums to carry out the collaborative processes. More information about the Public Solutions System should be available on PCI’s updated website, which will be launched in the coming month (www.PolicyConsensus.org).

Amy Lang
Amy Lang is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at the University of British Columbia. She wrote her dissertation on British Columbia’s groundbreaking Citizens’ Assembly process, and is currently doing follow-up research on the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly.

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