Two reports with findings and recommendations made by citizens of Scotland were submitted into debate in the Scottish Parliament today.
COVID-19: Citizens’ Panel report
A panel of the public convened by the Scottish Parliament’s COVID-19 Committee reported its findings to MSPs.
The 19-member panel, which broadly reflects the demographic make-up of Scotland, met virtually over four Saturdays to consider the question What priorities should shape the Scottish Government’s approach to COVID-19 restrictions and strategy in 2021, hearing from experts to help inform its findings.
The Panel’s findings are intended to assist the Scottish Parliament’s COVID-19 Committee in scrutinising the Scottish Government’s strategic approach to the pandemic, including what priorities should inform any future restrictions in 2021. The Committee will also reflect on the panel’s findings to inform its recommendations for how Covid scrutiny should continue after the election.
Members of the panel will give evidence to MSPs on the Covid-19 Committee about their report today (Thursday 18 February). In the coming weeks, the report will also inform MSPs’ consideration of the possible extension of the emergency Coronavirus legislation, which is currently due to expire at the end of March.
Doing Politics Differently report
Today the report of first full Citizens’ Assembly was laid in the Scottish Parliament for debate, with an action plan to follow from the Scottish Government.
The Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland was set up to consider these questions:
- What kind of country are we seeking to build?
- How best we can 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?
In January it published Doing Politics Differently: The Report of the Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland which contains its vision and recommendations for Scotland’s future.
In an article for The Herald newspaper, Kate Wimpress, convenor of the Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland, wrote about the recent Citizens’ Assembly report
“My hope is politicians will be emboldened today by the Citizens’ Assembly’s work, illustrating as it does a remarkable level of agreement across a host of critical areas... A positive, constructive response from parliamentarians and government policy-makers will start to build the concrete changes members have pinpointed as crucial to our future. It will also prove that this new way of doing politics in Scotland can be a key part of our democratic toolkit. Citizens’ assemblies are no panacea but when convened, and acted upon, they can support a healthy democratic culture, one that demonstrates clearly that citizens’ everyday experiences and voices count. “
The role of the Citizen’s Assembly
In Oct 2019 Policy Scotland hosted a talk by David Martin, at that time Co-Convenor of the Citizens Assembly of Scotland, on his aspirations for this democratic innovation.