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Government takes new approach for selecting people’s panels

Government takes new approach for selecting people’s panels

Thursday 10 December 2020

Government takes new approach for selecting people’s panels

Thursday 10 December 2020

Choosing which islanders sit on a ‘citizens' assembly’ to discuss climate change will be a very different process to the one used to select the future hospital site, the Government has said.

The hospital site selection process was defended by Ministers after it was criticised by a Scrutiny Panel as “procedurally flawed” and “subjective”.

The role of the hospital citizens’ panel was not to select a site but to draw up a list of criteria from which the sites could then be selected.

However, when the conclusions of the anonymous group were published, its recommendations did not appear to correspond to the actual five-site shortlist, which was later whittled down to one. 

Overdale Transport.jpeg

Pictured: the selection process for Overdale has been criticised by Scrutiny. 

To form the panel, a recruitment campaign was launched inviting islanders to apply, which led to 154 applications being submitted. 

These were then sifted down to remove people with any potential conflict of interest - including journalists, Health Department employees and anyone who might have been subject to “outside influence”, such as expressing a view previously on where the hospital should be. 

Next, the names were whittled down to be representative of age, gender and ethnicity, before the final 17-member panel was randomly selected from this shortlist.

For the Carbon Neutral citizens assembly, however, 8,000 Islanders will be contacted by the Government in the New Year, inviting them to be a part of the process.

Climate Mural

Pictured: Jersey declared a climate emergency last year, and a mural on the Waterfront was unveiled to mark that decision. 

From that, 45 will be chosen to come together to make recommendations that will shape a long-term climate action plan to be presented for public consultation and, ultimately, the States Assembly for approval.

Dr Louise Magris, Head of Sustainability and Foresight, said: “We are not following the process that the hospital citizens’ panel adopted. We are using a randomised approach whereby 8,000 invites will be sent out and they will be sorted according to age, gender and background - that important criteria - and from that 45, participants will be selected in order to participate in the citizens’ assembly process.

“This is quite a scientific process and we will be using our expert advisers from the UK in order to help us do this. They are adopting the same approach that was used for UK citizens’ assemblies and others that have involved participatory democracy."


Now elevated to the ministerial ranks, Deputy Jess Perchard is taking the political lead on the Island‘s carbon neutral strategy.

She continued: “We will be using our independent advisers to run the facilitation process but there will a mix of on-island trained facilitators, who will be overseen by the independent facilitators, who have a lot of experience in participatory democracy. 

“They will be running the specific sessions and table groups and discussions of the participants of the forum, and ensuring that their feedback and recommendations are fed into the overall report. The facilitators run the process in a transparent and consistent way, and that is what we are aiming to ensure.”

The process of forming the carbon neutral citizens’ assembly should be up and running by mid-February. 

After the States adopted a proposition by Deputy Jess Perchard last month, topics the panel will discuss include disincentivising non-commercial and non-essential car travel and the ownership of several cars within a single household.

Deputy Perchard has subsequently become an Assistant Environment Minister and will take the political lead on delivering the strategy.

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