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The Future Panel on PHG as a methodological experiment

Up until the PACITA project, the Future Panel method had been used twice by the Danish Board of Technology (DBT). [1] Methodologically, there were clear similarities between the design of the 'original' Future Panel (OFP) as developed by the DBT and the PACITA Future Panel (PFP). Both the OFP and the PFP lasted approximately 1½ to 2 years and started with an introductory seminar in which the Steering Group and Future Panel met for the first time to jointly determine the focus of the project. Like the OFP, the PFP aimed to gather existing knowledge on the central theme in connection with debate and assessment, to create an overview and elucidate the political tasks connected to the theme. Again, like the OFP, the PFP relied heavily on the input of experts to feed into the policy-making process.

However, there were also important differences between the original Future Panel and the PACITA variant. For the purposes of this chapter, we will mention five of them that contributed to the project being a methodological experiment. [2]

� First, while the OFP was developed for and applied in a national context, the PFP involved adjusting this method to and applying it in a cross-national context. It was in this cross-national context that the TA demonstration had to contribute to the broader aims of PACITA: by establishing a national/regional-level and EU-level experience with a coordinated expert-based TA method that involved parliamentarians; by doing this in cooperation with decision makers on the national/regional level and the EU-level, in order to create experience on, and mobilization around, the use of such methods among the main users; by doing this in cooperation with the scientific community on public health genomics in order to create learning and mobilization on the potential of expert-based policy making facilitated by TA specialists; and by involving countries that have not established such institutions and methods directly in their work, in order to build capacity, create learning and mobilize the actors.

� A second important difference between the OFP and PFP was that in the OFP panel members were appointed by parliament, thereby forging a strong institutional link between parliament and the project. In the PFP, on the other hand, individual members of parliament were invited by the PACITA consortium. In other words, in the OFP, there was no institutional link between the respective parliaments of the Future Panel members and the project.

� As a result, and this is the third important difference, the work done by the PFP worked at a greater distance from actual political committee work compared to the OFP. Typically, work done by the OFP can be regarded as provisional political committee work.

� Fourth, the OFP and the PFP differed with regard to the political representation in the Future Panel, both with regard to the political spectrum and the parliamentary committees involved. In the OFP, all political parties were represented, as well as a wide range of political committees. This was not the case in the PFP. There was some political diversity, but not all political parties (from all participating countries) were involved. In addition, members of the PFP were all connected to a parliamentary committee with a special responsibility for health-care policy. [3]

� Finally, there was an important difference between the OFP and the PFP concerning the number of public hearings that were organized as part of the project. Whereas the OFP typically involved four public hearings, the PFP involved one public hearing, complemented by the possibility of consulting the FP members on an ad hoc basis.

  • [1] In the year 2000, the method was used in a project on the ageing populationand in 2005 in a project on Denmark's future energy system. See e.g. Hennen et al. (2004).
  • [2] For a more elaborate comparison, see A. Krom and D. Stemerding (2014).
  • [3] Early on in the project the relative low number of Future Panel members was identified as a potential risk to the project. Subsequently, extensive attempts were made to further expand the panel.
 
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