Bristol Citizens' Assembly

Assembly Update 12 March 2021

The final sessions of the assembly took place on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 March. Thank you to all the participants for the time and energy that you have dedicated to Bristol’s first citizens’ assembly over the last few months. This has demonstrated a real enthusiasm and appetite to want to understand and inform what is happening in our city. Participants produced a comprehensive set of recommendations during the sessions, which Councillors Asher Craig and Paula O’Rourke announced at the City Gathering on 12 March.

You can read the recommendations here.

The assembly has been discussing and preparing to respond to the important question ‘How do we recover from COVID-19 and create a better future for all in Bristol?’

The assembly worked on three specific topics of discussion:

  • Climate change and housing - 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  and social care - How should we tackle health inequalities in Bristol?

The groups working on the three topics came back together on the final weekend. They used the Saturday sessions to finalise the set of recommendations. The Mayor delivered the concluding days’ welcome on Sunday. Cllrs Asher Craig and Paula O’Rourke joined him to share their reflections and let participants know what will happen after the assembly closes.

The formal report from Involve, describing Bristol’s citizens’ assembly journey and full detail of the recommendations will be presented to Cabinet in June, following the local elections.

Assembly sessions

Bristol’s citizens' assembly, where a group of residents are helping to shape the city’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, started on Saturday 16 January and Sunday 17 January. This first weekend introduced the assembly to the deliberative democracy process and how citizens’ assemblies work.

The second weekend saw the assembly split into three groups of 20 people each considering either climate change and housing, transport or health inequalities. 33 speakers delivered panel presentations to provide participants with information to inform deliberations.

The penultimate weekend of the citizens' assembly saw each of the three groups listen to a final panel of theme-specific speakers. The information presented addressed specific areas that the participants felt that they needed to know more about. This allowed them to spend the remainder of the weekend deliberating and working together to further develop recommendations. Participants focussed on putting together these recommendations in response to the questions. These were taken forward to the final weekend when the 60 participants came together for the last sessions to review and vote on the assembly’s concluding recommendations.