On the weekend on 29-31 March 2019, the Scottish Parliament hosted its first ever Citizens’ Jury: a public engagement method which involves a broadly representative sample of the population coming together to learn about an issue, discuss it, deliberate and reach a set of recommendations.
Deliberation, a key aspect of Citizens’ Jury processes, involves participants learning about a topic from experts and stakeholders, evaluating the evidence presented, exchanging reasoned arguments, and agreeing recommendations after considered judgement.
The Citizens’ Jury considered the question of how funding and advice for land management should be designed to help improve Scotland’s natural environment.
Over the weekend, the 21 members of the jury heard from a range of experts about the topic and worked together to come up with a set of principles that the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee should consider when exploring the issue of funding for land management and environmental impact. The jury also came to a consensus on preferred aspects for a new funding model.
The Citizens’ Jury is an example of the Parliament moving towards a more participative approach to scrutiny, as recommended by the Presiding Officer’s Commission on Parliamentary Reform.