News

Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland

Published: 14 Jun 2019 15:32

First step to set up new Assembly to help shape Scotland’s future.

The process of establishing the new Citizens’ Assembly to explore some of the major challenges facing Scotland has begun.

A contractor is being sought to randomly select 120 members of the public to serve on the Assembly. The individuals will be broadly representative of Scotland’s adult population in terms of age, gender, socio-economic class, ethnic group, geography and political attitudes.

The Assembly will consider three broad issues:

* what kind of country should be

* how can Scotland best overcome challenges, including those arising from Brexit

* what further work is required to enable people to make informed choices about the future of Scotland

Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell said: “This is the first time a Citizens’ Assembly has been used in Scotland and will bring together a wide range of ordinary people from across our country in a genuine attempt to reach consensus on the issues that we face. Similar models have been used successfully in countries including Ireland, Canada, Australia and Poland.

“It is a bold idea and one I hope everyone, whatever their political view, can embrace. I believe we all want the best for Scotland and if we have learnt anything from Brexit it is the need to make space for people to engage with information and to exchange different views.”

The Citizens’ Assembly is one strand of the Scottish Government’s three pronged approach to chart a distinctive course for Scotland. The others are the establishment of a legal framework providing the option for a referendum and cross-party talks to identify areas of agreement on constitutional change.

Background

The Scottish Government’s approach is based on lessons learned from a range of Citizens’ Assembly initiatives.

Members will be identified by early September, with the Assembly meeting on six weekends between the autumn and Spring 2020.

Assembly members will receive a gift of thanks of £200 per weekend to recognise their time and contribution. Travel, accommodation and other reasonable costs, such as child care, will also be covered.

MSPs, MPs, MEPs, councillors and members of the House of Lords, political party staff, public appointees and senior public and civil servants will be ineligible to sit on the Assembly, as will representatives and officials of relevant advocacy groups.

An announcement on the convenership of the Assembly will be made by Constitutional Secretary Michael Russell shortly.

The tender documents are available on the Public Contracts Scotland website.