Citizens' Assembly South

The outcome of the Scottish independence referendum raised big questions about how England is governed.

With Greater London adopting new powers, residents in and around Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight (the Solent) are wondering if similar changes could revitalise their region. Some residents believe that shifting more power to the local level will deliver public services more effectively and use public funds more efficiently. Others are concerned about adding extra layers of administration.

The Solent has been amongst the national leaders in the pursuit of new deals between local authorities and Westminster. However, shifting new political power to the region must be in a form that is supported by the people who live here.

“Our citizens’ assemblies will put the voice of local people at the forefront of debates about how we are governed. This represents is an important opportunity for people to shape the debates about the future of the Sheffield and Solent regions”

Professor Will Jennings

Academics from the University of Southampton are part of a team of leading international researchers who are interested to discover what power to the people might mean for England. Through two pilot assemblies, they want to give people more say about the decisions that affect them and give them a meaningful role in changing how politicians make decisions.

These two pilot assemblies were held in Southampton on 24-25 October and 14-15 November, and while places for participants are limited, all members of the public were invited to contribute to the process through making online submissions.

Materials and further information will be made available throughout the process, while findings, press releases and briefings will be released via the About page.

The ‘Democracy Matters’ project provides a great opportunity for citizens to get involved in the political process. We need to constantly find new ways of engaging people in the big political questions that affect their lives.

Assembly South is a great way of doing that. It provides the opportunity for people to express their views, and to think about how to make their area a better place. That is why I welcome this important initiative to Southampton. This has all the more relevance with the growing trend towards devolution throughout the country. 

So thank you to everybody for taking part. This presents a real opportunity for the citizens of Southampton and further afield to discuss the future of how our region is governed. It has an enormous potential to shape things to come.

Royston Smith MP
Southampton Itchen