Scotland's Climate Assembly: operations and administration arrangements

Details on the Assembly's independence and governance, resources, member recruitment, meetings, evidence base, engagement, principles and reporting arrangements.

Annex A – Stewarding group – invitation letter as issued February 2020

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform

Ministerial Private Office

T: 0300 244 4000


As you will be aware, the Climate Change Act passed by the Parliament on 25th September 2019 requires a Climate Citizens' Assembly to be established. The functions conferred on the Citizens' Assembly are to:

a) consider how to prevent or minimise, or remedy or mitigate the effects of, climate change, 

(b) make recommendations on measures proposed to achieve the emissions reduction targets, 

(c) make recommendations about such other matters in relation to climate change as the Scottish Ministers may, in accordance with subsection (6), refer to the assembly.

The Citizens' Assembly is required to set out its recommendations in a report to the Scottish Parliament and Ministers by 28 February 2021.

I believe that the Citizens' Assembly on climate change can play an important role in informing decision making as we consider the far reaching changes that will be required across Scottish society to meet our ambitious climate change targets. 

In line with the best practice in consultative democracy, I intend the following principles to apply to the Climate Citizens' Assembly:

  • Independent of Ministers, Government and Parliament. 
  • Members are representative of the population. 
  • Transparency in the operation of the Assembly and materials provided to inform discussion, although deliberations are private
  • A Stewarding Group is used to ensure balance and legitimacy in the establishment, conduct and reporting of the Citizens Assembly
  • People are financially compensated for taking part
  • Discussions are professionally facilitated
  • Experts provide evidence and answer questions from the Assembly Members

To ensure the independence of the Citizens' Assembly the Climate Change Act requires two conveners who are independent of the Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Parliament.

To further ensure legitimacy, I have agreed that the Secretariat and all its functions operate at arm's length from Government and Parliament.

In common with other successful Citizens' Assemblies, I am proposing a Stewarding Group. The role of the Stewarding Group will be to advise the Conveners, when appointed, and the Secretariat acting on their behalf, to ensure that the planning, preparations and running of the Assembly proceed in accordance with the principles outlined above. Membership will be representative of a wide cross section of stakeholders and views on climate change as well as experts in the citizens' assembly process.

Participation will be on a voluntary basis and will not be remunerated, though reasonable expenses will be paid. Members will have a responsibility to and are expected to act in a cooperative and collegiate manner. 

Stewarding Group members will support and scrutinise the delivery of the Assembly. This will include: 

☐ advising on planning and preparations for Assembly meetings and reviewing Assembly meetings; 

☐ advising on establishment of relevant governance arrangements, including in relation to members conduct, transparency and reporting and Assembly proceedings; 

☐ quality assurance of the overall process of delivery and the evidence presented to the Assembly, to ensure the objectivity and impartiality of methods and structures and the evidence presented to the Assembly is relevant, accessible, balanced and proportionate; 

☐ assisting with the identification of relevant experts to provide evidence to the Assembly; 

☐ encouraging wider visibility and positive commentary about the Climate Citizens' Assembly, explaining the work of the Assembly and the evidence presented to it.  

The Group will operate in an open and transparent manner. Terms of reference, names of Group members, minutes of meetings and details of the advice provided will be published on the Assembly website. 

The Group will meet as required, with an expectation that meetings will be held at least monthly and members will provide such advice and commentary on an individual or collective basis between meetings as may be required and as other commitments permit. 

I would be very pleased if you would agree to sit on the Stewarding Group. The first meeting will be held in the next few weeks and officials will be in touch to arrange details.


Roseanna Cunningham



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