Exploring the routes from consultation to (in)forming public policy
Freeman, Michael (ed.)
In Current Legal Issues: Law and Bioethics.
Oxford University Press., .
Full text not available from this repository.
The focus of this chapter is the analysis of the routes by which Parliamentary
bodies move from consultation to formulating public policy in the controversial
field of assisted conception and related technological developments. How do Parliamentary bodies recommend particular policy stances in controversial areas and are these legitimate? Further, given the emphasis on public confidence in the regulatory framework in this field, how and in what ways are the public’s opinions—as expressed in responses to the relevant consultations—taken up and used in the construction of policy?
One of the key questions informing this research is the legitimacy of the routes through the consultation processes; in particular the extent to which public responses inform, or are at least seen to inform, the resulting policy recommendations. For example, are ‘representative’ or ‘majority’ opinions either
portrayed as influential, or proved to be in practice when policies are announced? Further, is the status of particular respondents accorded greater significance? These questions are addressed through the analysis of a bounded example of public consultation, the Department of Health Review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (HFEA 1990), which resulted in the publication of the Human Tissue and Embryos (Draft) Bill in May 2007; eventually placed before the House of Lords by Lord Darzai in November 2007 as the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (HFE Bill).
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