Citizens' Assembly Pilots
The way we are governed in the United Kingdom is changing. In Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and some parts of England, more powers are being shifted away from Westminster towards devolved bodies and representatives at the local level. This raises questions about the future of decentralisation, devolution and democracy in our society.
With the support of the Economic and Social Research Council, academics and civil society organisations brought together politicians, regional leaders and the public to debate a range of options for Britain’s constitutional future. Between October and November 2015, two pilot assemblies were run in Sheffield (Assembly North) and Southampton (Assembly South) to ask how new regional powers can be established in a form that is supported by the people who live locally. You can read the full report on this project now.
Deliberative approaches, such as citizen assemblies, lend themselves to providing answers to these sorts of questions. They emphasize two key aspects of democracy: first, participation of ordinary citizens who are affected by the decision, not just by members of the political elite; and, second, careful discussion that builds deep understanding of the options and the arguments for and against them.
This site provides information about the two pilots and provides the resources used by participants.