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Deliberative decision-making on the Norwegian County Social Welfare Board

Marit Skivenes and Milfrid Tonheim have published an article about deliberative decision-making on the Norwegian County Social Welfare Board, and the experiences of expert and lay members of the board.

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The article considers whether or not laypersons are considered to be equally as valuable as expert members of a decision making body. The aim of this paper is to examine how members of a decision-making team perceive conditions crucial for reasoned decision-making, e.g. whether they are fully informed about the facts in the case, whether they experience that they are considered equal partners in the decision-making team, and whether they feel that their arguments and input is taken seriously. The survey was distributed to the entire population of expert and lay decision makers (N = 2888) of the Norwegian County Social Welfare Board, and responses were submitted by 1598 decision makers. The findings show that overall, most expert members and lay members feel that they have sufficient information for making decisions, that their arguments are respected by the other members of the board, and that they consider themselves as being equal partners in the decision-making process.  However, expert and lay members are not provided with documents in a timely manner before hearings, and it is a cause for concern that some lay members experience that their arguments are considered of lesser importance than arguments put forward by other members, and that they are subordinated to the other decision makers on the team.