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Since most decisions will be made in Main Circles or their sub-circles, the following section describes how Circles seek input, how individuals give input to Circles, and how individuals can appeal decisions made by Circles. The aim is both to maintain the integrity of Circles (including their ability to make decisions within their domain) and to have appropriate community input on those decisions.
• Circle considers whether the issue is in its domain and whether it is a Major Decision
• Circle seeks input: When a question comes to a Circle, the Circle may decide the question, research it, survey community members, seek out individual opinions, or send the question to another Circle for input or decision. A Circle may appoint a Helping Circle to research the question and make a recommendation. A Circle can ask for time in a Community Conversation to generate more input. How much input to request and what methods to use to gather that input is a judgment call of the Circle based on the issue’s complexity, impact, and/or potential controversy.
• Any individual can give input to any Circle member.
• Any individual can request to be heard by any Circle that they are not a member of.
• All Circle meeting minutes will be publicly available, and will note upcoming issues as well as past decisions.
• Community members may appeal the Circle’s decision in the following manner: Any three, unrelated individuals can appeal any decision to the Circle that made the decision. Those appealing will go to the Circle that made the decision, in order to confirm or amend that decision (in one session). If not successful in that session, those with concerns - along with Circle delegates - seek assistance from Care and Counsel to get resolution (within two sessions, or more if extended by Consent). If that is not successful, the appeal moves to the next broader Circle.
A Circle identifies need for a policy creation or revision. The most complex and/or potentially controversial proposals may go through all the steps below. The feedback and decision-making process for simpler proposals may go through appropriately fewer steps.
a. Circle may do a round of picture forming or reaction.
b. Circle selects lead person responsible for revision process.
c. Lead notifies the community that revision process is under way, including original policy and initial circle reaction (or new policy draft), and solicits feedback (picture forming).The notification includes a deadline for input and who to send input to. The depth of input gathering depends on how complex and/or controversial the issue is. Input may range from, at minimum, the lead reading the existing policy to, at maximum, the lead initiating a community survey and/or a Community Conversation and/or outside research.
d. Lead writes draft (first) of revised/new policy, circulates that draft among Circle members and gathers feedback.
e. Lead revises draft policy (second), publishes to community and gathers feedback.
f. Circle reviews, amends and approves draft.
g. Lead publishes draft (third) of policy to community with a deadline for input (for big issues hold a Community Conversation) and notice of the meeting date in which the Circle will decide the policy.
h. Lead reviews community input, revises draft (fourth) of policy, and circulates to community
i. Circle makes consent decision, including term and measures.
j. Announce decision: Lead or Secretary posts policy in Community Agreements document, and decision is noted in Circle minutes.