About citizens’ assemblies
A citizens’ assembly is a group of people who are brought together to learn about and discuss an issue or issues, and reach conclusions about what they think should happen.
Governments and parliaments around the world are increasingly using citizens' assemblies in their work. The assemblies enable decision-makers to understand people's informed and considered preferences on issues that are complex, controversial, moral or constitutional. The UK Parliament commissioned its first citizens' assembly, the Citizens' Assembly on Social Care, in 2018.
Citizens' assemblies have a number of key features including:
- Who takes part: assembly members are representative of the wider population;
- The assembly process: assembly members go through a three stage process of learning, discussion, and decision-making;
- The information provided: the evidence presented to assembly members during the learning phase is balanced, accurate and comprehensive;
- Independent facilitation: the assembly is not facilitated by the organisation that commissioned the assembly.
Find out more about citizens’ assemblies.
Climate Assembly UK
Climate Assembly UK had 108 members selected through a process known as ‘sortition’ or a ‘civic lottery’ to be representative of the UK population.
They included engineers, health workers, parents and grandparents.
They met as an assembly over six weekends between the end of January and the middle of May 2020. The members heard balanced, accurate and comprehensive information on how the UK could reach its net zero target by 2050. The then discussed this with each other and voted by secret ballot. The results of their work are detailed in the final report.
The House of Commons contracted three organisations to run Climate Assembly UK on its behalf – The Involve Foundation (‘Involve’), Sortition Foundation, and mySociety. Read more about who ran Climate Assembly UK here.