Agenda of a citizens’ assembly
1. Learning phase
Assembly members will learn about critical thinking and bias detection before hearing balanced and comprehensive information on the issue, including key terms and background science (e.g. about the rate and implications of the climate crisis). Then they’ll be presented with a range of opinions and evidence on policy options. Assembly members can invite and ‘cross-examine’ additional experts.
In addition to the experts and stakeholders who appear in person, any group or individual in society can make a written submission to the citizens’ assembly. This evidence will be publically available online, but also summarised and presented to the assembly members. Members will also have the right to request to hear in person from any of these groups. A wide range of perspectives should be present, including contrary perspectives.
2. Deliberation phase
Assembly members discuss the evidence and opinions they have heard. This is an opportunity for members to ref lect on and discuss the issues. The facilitator’s job is to ensure that assembly members actively listen to each other and critically assess the different options. This phase takes place through a combination of plenary sessions and facilitated small groups to maximize opportunities to speak and to be heard.
3. Decision phase
Assembly members are taken through a step-by-step process in order to draft a report on their recommendations. They may wish to undertake deliberations in private, without facilitators present, similar to a legal jury deciding its verdict. Their report will include key recommendations and the degree of support for each, along with more nuanced descriptions of the points raised during the assembly.The coordinating group considers how much time will be needed for assembly members to reflect, deliberate and achieve thorough decisions.
In addition, the coordinating group should produce a report explaining the methodology used in the citizens’ assembly to ensure procedural transparency.