Citizens' Assembly of Scotland - Doing Politics Differently report: Scottish Government response

Our response to the report of the Citizens' Assembly of Scotland report 'Doing Politics Differently'.


The Citizens' Assembly of Scotland was announced by the First Minister on 24 April 2019[3] as a democratic process designed to bring people together to hear evidence; deliberate on what they heard; and to make recommendations for action.

The aim set out by the First Minister was to respond to a polarisation of politics by finding ways of debating choices respectfully and seeking maximum areas of agreement.

While Citizens' Assemblies are widely used internationally, this was the first national assembly to be established in Scotland. The Assembly comprised of a group of around 100 citizens selected from across the country, broadly representative of the adult population of Scotland as a whole.[4]

The Assembly was asked to address the following three questions:

  • What kind of country are we seeking to build?
  • How best can we overcome the challenges Scotland and the world face in the 21st century, including those arising from Brexit?
  • What further work should be carried out to give us the information we need to make informed choices about the future of the country?

The Assembly first met on 26/27 October 2019. Following three further meetings, the Assembly was suspended in the early stages of the pandemic. It resumed meetings online on 5 September 2020, and concluded its work on 5 December 2020.

Doing Politics Differently – the report of the Citizens' Assembly of Scotland[5] was published on 13 January 2021. It contains 10 vision statements and 60 recommendations, each with substantial levels of support from Assembly members.[6]

The opening vision statement sets the scene for the ambitious and comprehensive proposals that follow:

The Scotland we want to see should lead with integrity, honesty, humility and transparency, in a self-sufficient and innovative way, and actively include the people of Scotland in decision making.[7]

The report also sets out the hopes of Assembly members for their work and their report:

We gathered, talked and agreed. We believe our vision and recommendations represent all of the people of Scotland. We ask the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government to consider our words as they plan and decide our future, and to listen closely to what we have said.[8]

The report captures clearly the commitment of the Assembly members to their task; the importance they attached to the opportunity to learn, to consider, to become involved and to influence the political process in Scotland; and their criticisms of the usual way that government and politics are conducted.

This response from the Scottish Government sets out the actions that are being taken or are planned on the individual recommendations made by the Assembly.

The response also sets out the government's overall view of the Assembly process, the role that Citizens' Assemblies, through the Scotland's Climate Assembly, have begun to play, and plans for future use of participative democracy to build on the work of this first Citizens' Assembly and ensure that, in the future, Scotland is doing politics differently.



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