Documents to download

There has been an increase in the use of citizens’ assemblies over recent years in the UK and Ireland. Assemblies have been set up to consider subjects such as English devolution, adult social care and a range of different matters in Ireland (including the abortion laws and climate change). These have been arranged by a range of bodies, including think tanks, academic institutions, parliamentary committees and, in the case of Ireland, the parliament itself. In addition, some people have recommended the use of a citizens’ assembly to decide how to proceed with Brexit. Indeed, the University College London’s Constitution Unit did lead a citizens’ assembly on Brexit in 2017, which considered the UK’s future relationship with the EU, particularly in relation to migration policy and trade policy. The public participation charity Involve has stated that citizens’ assemblies can provide a high profile way of analysing complex issues and offer policymakers an insight into public opinion. However, it has also stressed that running them can be challenging and expensive, and that there could be a danger of it being viewed as a publicity exercise if not followed by real outcomes. 


Documents to download

Related posts

  • Standards in Public Life

    This House of Lords Library briefing has been prepared ahead of the following debate in the House on 9 September 2021: Lord Blunkett to move that this House takes note of standards in public life.

    Standards in Public Life
  • Reforming the House of Lords Appointments Commission

    The House of Lords Appointments Commission vets nominations to the House and recommends non-party political members. However, it is not a statutory body and the Prime Minister can disregard its advice. Recently, its advice about the appointment of Lord Cruddas was not followed by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. On 6 September 2021, the House of Lords will debate whether the commission should be reformed and placed on a statutory basis.

    Reforming the House of Lords Appointments Commission