Climate emergency

Citizens’ Jury Overview

What is a Citizens’ Jury?

A citizens’ jury is a small group of 25 people, who come together to learn about, discuss, and make decisions on a particular issue. The group is representative of the local community and is given time to understand an issue, hear from expert witnesses, form opinions and make a series of recommendations.

Why did we do it?

In March 2019, Southwark Council declared a Climate Emergency. Southwark’s climate emergency declaration includes the intention to ‘do all it can to make the borough carbon neutral by 2030’. It also committed the council to ‘develop a strategy, working with local stakeholders’.

Therefore, it's vital that our residents are part of the decision-making process and work alongside the council to find and agree solutions to the challenges that we face. The climate change strategy is the starting point, but as work develops, we need our resident's involvement, ideas and input.

The jury built on the engagement that had already taken place, to give a selected group of residents an informed consideration of all the key issues impacting on the ability of the council to achieve net-zero by 2030.

Who are the organisers?

The process was led by a team of independent facilitators from the social enterprise and community interest company Shared Future, who have extensive experience in Citizens' Jury facilitation.

How can I get involved (including Recruitment)?

The selection process for jury members took place in September and October 2021. Invitation letters were sent to several thousand randomly selected addresses in the borough, allowing residents to express an interest in joining. We received over 170 responses, from which a representative group of 25 residents were invited to become a member of the jury.

How did the Citizens’ jury work?

During the sessions, participants heard from a range of expert commentators on climate change. Participants had an opportunity to question the commentators, share opinions with each other, to deliberate, challenge each other and ultimately reach a set of recommendations on how Southwark can best reach net zero. The process allowed enough time for the jury members to fully understand and discuss complex issues.

The jury met over 8 sessions between November 2021 and February 2022. The contents from the sessions are available on the following page.

The Oversight Panel

This is a group that met separately from the jury, to provide guidance and help shape the process. The role of the Oversight Panel was to:

  1. Ensure that the project design is fair and rigorous.
  2. Monitor the process of citizen selection.
  3. Agree the main question that the jury will respond to.
  4. Input into the discussion of what topics should be considered by citizens in the initial jury sessions.
  5. Help identify ‘commentators’ best able to present on these topics.
  6. Push for implementation of the jury’s recommendations.

The group was made up of representatives from the council, local stakeholders and experts. A full list of oversight panel members can be found here (pdf, 202kb).

You can find minutes from Oversight Panel meetings below:

The recommendations

The recommendations from the jury can be found here (pdf, 5.1mb), as part of a report that covers the full jury process. The council will take the recommendations to a meeting of the Cabinet and provide a direct response to the points raised. Many of the recommendations require action beyond the council, including businesses, schools, hospitals and individual residents. The council will be promoting the outcome of the jury process widely and encouraging others to sign up to the recommendations.

You can watch the Citizens’ Jury launch event for its climate change recommendations here.

Page last updated: 18 March 2022

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