The Howard League and the LSE will work together to:
- identify areas of policy that we feel could benefit from reform but are also topical and chime with wider public agendas
- nominate potential “What if ...?” proposers to deliver a lecture, polemical in style, drawing on an evidence base to promote an alternative approach to an issue
- invite discussants to challenge and debate the proposition and its practical application
- publicise the lectures in order to engage with professionals and the wider public to canvas broader perspectives and extend the area for questioning.
Each author is asked to:
- develop an idea (e.g. what if … the age of criminal responsibility was increased to 14 years?);
- critically assess the current position
- identify a primarily evidence based argument for change.
What if? Peer review events
The author would then be invited to subject their ideas to academic and practitioner ‘peer review’ at a public lecture hosted at and chaired by the LSE. Alongside the discussants’ efforts, we will engage with an informed audience to effectively scrutinise the ideas presented.
The discussant(s) would present their challenge to the proposition to which the originating author would have right of reply. The debate will then be opened to the participating audience. The result would be a testing of concept and proofing the argument.
Following the public lecture and discussion, the author will be invited to prepare the paper for publication by the LSE? with the possibility of augmenting the proposal by addressing the issues and challenges raised at the event.
The Howard League for Penal Reform would undertake to further publicise the proposition. Depending on the issue and the potential interest it may organise an additional event and/or a multi-platform media launch.