Citizens assembly for Scotland

From Civil society Scotland Wiki

Background[edit | edit source]

On 25th April 2019, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed plans for a Scottish Citizens’ Assembly to be established, as she set out proposals for another Independence vote.

The move will see a group of community representatives come together to look at what type of country should be built, how challenges such as Brexit can be best overcome and what should happen to ensure people can make informed choices about the future of Scotland.

The plans have been welcomed by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), which called for a Citizens’ Assembly to be formed at the end of last year in a bid to give people a say on the Brexit stalemate.


Analysis[edit | edit source]

Key questions to consider Hot topics Suggestions for discussion
What should the model be? Models to review:
  1. Ireland's citizens assembly model
  2. Scottish Youth Parliament's 'Young People's Rights Review' with the Scottish Government
  3. Belgium's citizen council experiment
A cohort of 200 selected citizen jurors, randomly selected, but covering key characteristics of Scotland's people

Additional 100 members as serving politicians with real influence and power at different levels

Provisions made to support carers, and participants with additional needs (e.g. cost of alternative caring arrangements, the timing of meetings, creche facilities, accessibility, transport support). It is particularly important that there isn't an assumption that 'weekend' is easy for everyone, as this can be a particular barrier for carers, when paid respite support is more difficult to find.

There is certainly a need to make the platform accessible for disabled people, using the principles of 'Design for All'.

What should the theme and questions be? Overriding focus is future governance of Scotland

Need a set of specific issues for the Assembly to consider

What should Scotland's relationship be to the UK and Europe?

What should Scotland's responsibility be to the planet?

What should the overall approach to governance of the Citizen Assembly as an institution?

Clear principles and terms of engagement

Clear approach to accountability, transparency and participation

Clear approach to evidence used in deliberations

Adopt an Open Government approach and state this as a core guiding principle

Need to consider gender balance

Need to consider how evidence is made available to CA members - who should filter it?

Need to record equality profile (with a focus on intersectionality).

Need to consider accessibility of citizens assembly from the perspective of Scotland's digital divide

What should the timescales be? Scottish Government are working towards a 2021 deadline. Overall approach planned by end of May, Assembly starts running by Autumn, Reports by May 2020

Selected properly & scientifically - Democratic & demographic (ensure equal representation using protected/intersectional characteristics particularly marginalised groups) & geographic cross section people.

Who should be the Chair? Needs to be well respected by all political parties

Independent of Scottish Government

Needs to be respected by the people and communities that the third sector supports, not just big business and political parties.

In June it was announced that the first Chair would be David Martin, formerly an MEP for Scotland between 1999 and 2019 and, before this, for the Lothians constituency between 1984 and 1999.

Who should be a member of the Citizen Assembly? Participants selection based on scientifically accepted methods

Representative by democracy, demography, geography

Anyone on Scotland's electoral roll - 16 plus.

Provisions for members of Scottish Youth parliament including under 16s to be part.

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