The Innovation in Democracy Programme (IiDP) was funded and run by the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). It supported Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, Test Valley Borough Council and the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) to involve residents in decision-making through an innovative model of deliberative democracy – citizens’ assemblies. The citizens’ assemblies took place between September and December 2019.

The team of delivery partners – Involve, The Democratic Society, the RSA and mySociety – have written this handbook based on their experiences delivering the IiDP. It is aimed primarily at local authority officers or councillors who want to run a citizens’ assembly in their local area, but  will be useful to any authority or institution which is considering using a citizens’ assembly to actively involve people in tough or complex policy questions.

Starting with the question over whether or not to run a citizens’ assembly, the handbook moves chronologically through the different stages involved with planning, organising and delivering a successful process.
It’s not a prescriptive ‘user guide’ – less still a set of mandatory instructions – but we hope you find it useful as a catalogue of ideas and questions to work through that can assist anyone seeking to use deliberative engagement methods in their work.