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Citizens' assembly observer guidelines

We are grateful for the strong interest in our citizens’ assembly. We wish to make the work of the citizens’ assembly as open as possible, and welcome observers to attend the assembly weekend. 

At the same time, it is important that the presence of observers does not undermine the integrity of the citizens’ assembly process. The citizens’ assembly’s participants are ordinary members of the public, many of whom are not used to speaking in a public forum. Much of the design of the citizens’ assembly is intended to ensure that all participants feel comfortable in expressing themselves. As part of this, they should not feel that they are being watched over unduly.  

The citizen’s assembly is also designed to provide a balance of different perspectives. It is important that participants do not receive additional information or opinion from watching observers. Also, while we hope that some participants will be comfortable in speaking with the media who are present, members should be allowed to maintain their anonymity should they wish to do so.

In order to meet these competing needs, we will offer a space for observers in the citizens’ assembly meeting room. Places are limited and will be split into morning and afternoon slots.

Observers will sit towards the back of the room and cannot take part in the deliberations but can watch the evidence giving. Observers should be aware that they may not be able to hear the deliberations that take place among participants during small-group discussion sessions.

Sign up

We will do our best to accommodate you at your preferred date and time, please provide your three preference slots through our Kingston: Let’s Talk portal.  

Location and dates available for observers

The Kingston citizens' assembly will take place at Kingston University Penrhyn Road Campus, KT1 2EE. Slots available are as follows

Saturday 9 November 2019 

  • Morning (09.30 - 12.15)
  • Afternoon (13.00 - 17.00)

Sunday 10 November 2019 

  • Morning (09.30 - 12.15)
  • Afternoon (13.00 - 16.30)

Saturday 30 November 2019 

  • Morning  (Times to be confirmed nearer the event)
  • Afternoon (Times to be confirmed nearer the event)

Sunday 1st December 2019 

  • Morning (Times to be confirmed nearer the event) 
  • Afternoon (Times to be confirmed nearer the event)

Who can attend as an observer?

Priority stakeholders are:

  • Elected representatives (including local councillors)
  • Members of the press
  • Advocacy and interest groups
  • Academic researchers
  • Members of council staff 

All expressions of interest, including those from individual members of the public, will be given due consideration. If there is an overrepresentation of a priority group in an observer session, observers may be offered alternative sessions on a first come first serve basis.

Costs

We are unable to cover the costs of observers. Observers will be responsible for any costs incurred. 

Specific observer conditions

  • An observer liaison officer will be on hand to offer assistance and support to observers on the day.
  • To safeguard the deliberative process, observers will be restricted to the observer spaces and will not be permitted to listen in to the table discussions.
  • Citizens’ assembly members are participating anonymously. Observers must agree to respect this anonymity and treat any personal details of members in the strictest confidence. This is necessary to ensure that all participants feel able and confident to speak openly.
  • Observers are not permitted to approach or contact any member of the citizens’ assembly. Any observer who attempts to do so, or to otherwise influence a members’ views on the topic, will be excluded from further attendance at citizens’ assembly meetings.
  • Observers will not be able to join participants during meals or refreshment breaks. They will be able to take refreshments in other areas of the venue or nearby (see also, ‘costs’).
  • Observers must remain silent during all plenary sessions.
  • The use of mobile phones or cameras is not permitted. You must not take any photos or recordings of the assembly.
  • Press requests to speak with members of the citizens’ assembly or speakers must be raised with Involve on the day of the assembly. 
  • There are restrictions on what can be published or communicated (including through social media) about the citizens’ assembly proceedings. You can talk about the process; however, the substance of discussions, recommendations and results are under embargo until Involve or the council publishes the findings from the citizens’ assembly. 
  • Failure to observe these guidelines will result in immediate exclusion from all citizens’ assembly proceedings.

Further information

For any questions relating to your place as an observer please email [email protected]