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Democracy in Scotland: what’s the place of the Citizens’ Assembly?

Policy Scotland at the University of Glasgow

Monday, 30 September 2019 from 18:00 to 20:00 (BST)

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Event Details

There is a growing dissatisfaction with our democratic process. People are no longer happy just to put an X in a box when an election or a referendum comes along.



Deliberative democracy, sometimes known as ‘mini publics’, which directly involve a representative group of citizens learning about, discussing and drawing conclusions on a topic is seen as one option for engaging and informing the wider public. 


Scotland will have its own experiment in deliberative democracy through its new Citizens’ Assembly, which begins its work at the end of October.


It will consider the following broad questions:

  • What kind of country are we seeking to build?
  • How can we best overcome the challenges we face, including those arising from Brexit?
  • What further work should be carried out to give people the detail they need to make informed choices about the future of the country?


In this public lecture, hosted by Policy Scotland, David Martin, the Co-Convenor of the Assembly, will set out his hopes and aspirations for this innovation. He will explain how the citizens were selected, the way in which the Assembly will carry out its work and how it will feed into the wider political process. 


About David Martin


David Martin was a Scottish Labour Member of the European Parliament for 35 years (1984-2019). He was the longest serving UK MEP and longest serving Vice President of the Parliament (1989-2004), gaining extensive experience of the political systems in Scotland and Europe and effective forms of engaging with the public.


He was the European Parliament’s spokesperson on the Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties. As a senior member of the International Trade Committee he was responsible for steering numerous trade agreements through the Parliament.


Based on this experience, he was appointed Professor of Public Policy at the University of Glasgow. In 2013 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Punjab for services to EU-Pakistan relations.


David is a member of the First Minister’s Standing Council on Europe which provides advice to the First Minister on Brexit and the European Union.


In summer 2019 he was appointed as co-convener of the Citizens' Assembly of Scotland. He and Kate Wimpress took office as co-conveners on 6 August 2019.


He holds a BA (Hons) in Economics and an MA in European Management and Employment Law.


Further reading 


If you’d like to learn more about Citizens’ Assemblies and mini-publics have look at the resources and examples on the What Works Scotland website.

Do you have questions about Democracy in Scotland: what’s the place of the Citizens’ Assembly?? Contact Policy Scotland at the University of Glasgow

When & Where

Sir Charles Wilson Building University of Glasgow
3 Kelvin Way
G12 8NN Glasgow
United Kingdom

Monday, 30 September 2019 from 18:00 to 20:00 (BST)

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Policy Scotland at the University of Glasgow

Fresh thinking about public and social policy.

Policy Scotland brings together researchers, policy makers and those interested in public policy through briefings, workshops, events and publishing expert blogs on our website.


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