Commitment to future Citizens’ Assemblies
24 Nov 2021 09:49 AM
Innovative model reflected in Programme for Government.
The Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland model should be embedded in Scottish politics to give members of the public a direct role in future decision-making, the Scottish Government has said.
Scotland’s first Citizens’ Assembly was established in 2019 to consider what kind of country Scotland should be in future and how best to overcome 21st century challenges.
The Scottish Government has also published its formal response to the final report of the Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland.
The response sets out the government’s plans to progress the Assembly’s recommendations across a wide range of policy areas, reflecting the Programme for Government, Covid Recovery Strategy and other publications.
In particular, the response emphasises the government’s commitment to promoting citizens’ assemblies in future. Since 2019, Scotland’s Climate Assembly was convened to look at how Scotland should change to tackle the climate emergency and there are already plans for a new Citizens’ Assembly for under 16s.
In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, Minister for Parliamentary Business George Adam said his ambition was for such assemblies to be a permanent feature of political life.
Mr Adam said:
“This is a crucial moment for the Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland and our plans for future participative democracy.
“The vital work of the Assembly will be of no value if the government and this Parliament do not demonstrate that we have heard and acted on the views expressed by the people of Scotland through these processes. The response shows how the Assembly’s recommendations are reflected in our Programme for Government and other plans.
“One of our ambitions, echoing the Assembly, is for public participation processes to be a permanent addition to the democratic process here, making Scotland the first country in the UK to make such a commitment.
“But the vision of the Citizens’ Assembly is long term and to realise the scope of its ambition will require change beyond the term of this Parliament.
“The next steps will include working with the Scottish Parliament and others, including the public, to address the central recommendations in the Assembly’s report to ensure that democratic institutions are properly connected and engaged with the people of Scotland and to secure a lasting legacy of the Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland.”
Read the Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland final report
The Scottish Government's response sets out the Scottish Government’s plans for the priorities identified by the Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland including:
- How decisions are taken, including future use of citizens’ assemblies
- Incomes and poverty, including proposals for a Minimum Income Guarantee
- Tax and economy, including consultation on Scotland’s future tax system
- Young people, including addressing mental health and housing
- Sustainability, including investment and public awareness
- Health and wellbeing, including NHS pay
- Further powers, including tax, employment, international trade and immigration
- Other recommendations include digital connectivity, justice, pensions, and lifelong learning