Exploring the Routes from Consultation to (In)forming Public Policy
This chapter analyses the routes by which Parliamentary bodies move from consultation to formulating public policy in the controversial field of assisted conception and related technological developments. It explores the findings of the Department of Health consultation, focusing not only on the official interpretation of the data, but to alternative constructions and problems created by the quasi-quantitative representation of the material at some junctures. On the one hand, this process has led to greater empathy for the Department of Health and other official bodies in sifting through the myriad responses, but on the other hand a creeping cynicism has also taken hold. It is clear that there are significant issues about the way that data is presented by governmental and Parliamentary bodies, and even in the absence of the use of statistical data it remains feasible to skew the presentation of data in ways that are, strictly speaking, factually correct but simultaneously misleading about the dataset as a whole.
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