The recommendations will help inform the city-wide Economic Recovery and Renewal Strategy and the council’s refreshed Corporate Strategy as a key input into shaping the future of Bristol.
Deputy Mayor, Asher Craig said: “It was a privilege to observe the assembly members respond to the important question ‘How do we recover from COVID-19 and create a better future for all in Bristol?’. The members’ response to taking part, and their enthusiasm for being involved in a democratic process to shape Bristol’s future following the pandemic has been impressive.
“This assembly has given us a way of listening to diverse views on complex subjects, capturing and feeding those opinions into the city’s recovery and renewal planning. The members heard in-depth evidence about the issues, held lively and constructive discussions, challenged each other’s and their own views, made informed decisions and reached agreement on a set of recommendations and actions.”
The citizens’ assembly met online over four weekends hearing information from 55 speakers including community organisations, citizens with lived experience of inequality, One City partners, academics, subject specialists and council officers. They engaged in facilitated deliberation and developed 17 recommendations and 82 associated actions.
Councillor Paula O’Rourke, Party Group Leader, the Green Party said: “In 2020 Bristol committed to rebooting democracy and asked its citizens to help identify future aspirations for a city where we can build back better and everyone can share in the city’s success.
“The spirit of hearing all our communities’ voices has underpinned Bristol’s first citizens’ assembly. The assembly’s ideas and priorities will influence and help to shape Bristol’s future. The time and energy members dedicated demonstrates citizens’ enthusiasm and appetite to be a part of shaping progress in Bristol. Outcomes will be monitored and shared, as we work to embed deliberative democracy techniques in our citizen engagement work.”
One assembly member reported that it had been an incredible and insightful experience to help bring the city toward a new direction for everyone to enjoy and prosper post COVID-19. “We have heard speakers from housing to green energy to transport, with all the information that we could possibly need and the guidance to help us make informed recommendations. I was able to voice my opinions and share my experiences that helped create a more balanced picture of Bristol as a whole and keep equity in mind when making decisions.”
Full details of the assembly and their recommendations can be found at Bristol Citizens' Assembly - Bristol - Citizen Space