We are often asked at DemocracyNext: How does a successful Citizens’ Assembly work?
With thanks to our collaborators Adèle Vivet and VillageOne, today we are excited to publish a richly detailed, illustrated answer: the DemocracyNext Assembling an Assembly Guide is live at assemblyguide.demnext.org. The guide is also available as a print-formatted 78-page PDF.
This document represents our effort to walk readers through the process from start to finish—from randomly selecting Assembly members, to deliberation, to long-term institutionalisation.
"This extensive guide is the culmination of years of research and experience, building upon my work with Claudia Chwalisz at the OECD before the launch of DemNext," said Ieva Česnulaitytė, DemocracyNext Founding Head of Research and Learning. "Our goal is simple: to equip everyone with the principles and practices necessary to organise a successful Citizens' Assembly in their community—in a sense, to help democratise the creation of Assemblies themselves."
To convey how much information is in the guide, consider the chapter list and explore the guide:
Why run a Citizens’ Assembly?
Why do Citizens’ Assemblies work?
Examples of Citizens’ Assemblies
Hear from Assembly Members
1. Before the Assembly
1.1 Conditions for success
1.2 Governance: Setting up the team
1.3 Preparing the evaluation
1.4 Designing the Assembly
1.5 The sortition process: Selection by lottery and stratification
1.6 Preparing learning and evidence
2. During the Assembly
2.1 Onboarding Assembly Members
2.2 Facilitating learning and deliberation
2.3 Drafting recommendations and voting
2.4 Delivering recommendations
3. After the Assembly
3.2 Member aftercare
3.3 Next steps and institutionalisation
A Citizens’ Assembly based on the practices outlined above will strengthen public trust, produce reliable outputs that garner legitimacy, and have tremendous impacts on power and policy. We believe this guide can help others to create more successful Assemblies, building on more than 600 global examples. Our hope is the guide becomes a resource for people around the world, in much the same way that the OECD Catching the Deliberative Wave report, written by the DemNext founding team, has become a touchstone, translated into multiple languages.
View the Assembling an Assembly Guide online here.
Download the print-formatted Guide here (PDF).