Members of Bristol Citizens’ Assembly have formally handed over their recommendations to the City’s Cabinet at its June meeting.
The Bristol Citizens’ Assembly brought together 60 residents from Bristol in order to help shape the city’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The citizens' assembly members were selected by a civic lottery to be reflective of Bristol’s diversity in terms of age, sex, disability, ethnicity, geography, deprivation, and employment.
They met over four weekends from January to March 2021, with a total of 30 hours of meetings. In order to help answer the above question, they were asked to conduct deep dives into three topics that had been identified through engagement with residents as particularly important to the future of Bristol:
- Climate change: How do we rapidly reduce the impact of our homes on climate change?
- Transport: What changes should we make to our neighbourhoods to make how we travel easier, healthier and better for the environment?
- Health: How should we tackle health inequalities in Bristol?
For each topic, assembly members heard evidence from speakers, discussed their own views and experiences, and developed recommendations for the council and its partners.
The recommendations were published in March following the final meeting of the assembly, in an interim report, which was followed in May by the full report on the Citizens' Assembly. The full report includes the recommendations, along with supporting actions for how they should be implemented, and the rationale for why each recommendation is important.
The report also includes details of each of the assembly meetings, who the speakers were, and how deliberation was structured, as well as the members' own views on the process.
“This assembly has given us a way of listening to diverse views on complex subjects, capturing and feeding those opinions into the city’s recovery and renewal planning. The members heard in-depth evidence about the issues, held lively and constructive discussions, challenged each other’s and their own views, made informed decisions and reached agreement on a set of recommendations and actions.”
Deputy Mayor, Cllr Asher Craig.
The recommendations will help inform the city-wide Economic Recovery and Renewal Strategy and the council’s refreshed Corporate Strategy as a key input into shaping the future of Bristol.
The spirit of hearing all our communities’ voices has underpinned Bristol’s first citizens’ assembly. The assembly’s ideas and priorities will influence and help to shape Bristol’s future. The time and energy members dedicated demonstrates citizens’ enthusiasm and appetite to be a part of shaping progress in Bristol. Outcomes will be monitored and shared, as we work to embed deliberative democracy techniques in our citizen engagement work.”
Cllr Paula O'Rourke
Now that the report has been formally handed over, the recommendations will be reviewed by the council’s Cabinet, Corporate Leadership Board and the relevant services to look at legal, resourcing and other considerations. One City Thematic Boards will also review them. Upon completion of the initial review, Bristol City Council and the City Office will share a response to each recommendation and information on what happens next. Bristol City Council and the City Office have committed to providing an update on progress every six months.