Welsh Assembly Member proposes Citizens Juries

From the BBC News:

Compulsory Welsh citizen ‘democratic duty’ call

Welsh citizens should be called-up for compulsory democratic service in the same way as “jury duty”, an AM has said.

Conservative David Melding said a second chamber of the assembly should be created for residents to influence decisions and laws.

Mr Melding said introducing a “citizens service” in Wales would help narrow the gap between politicians and the public.

He said it would help keep politicians and officials “rooted”.

The AM for South Wales Central said the growing distance between politicians and the public, and the lack of engagement was “very damaging”.

Speaking on BBC Wales’ Sunday Supplement programme Mr Melding said a “citizens’ service” should be introduced, in a similar way to jury duty, with residents randomly selected to sit on panels, including local health boards to look at how hospitals and GP services are run, and local town and county councils to have their say on new leisure facilities and bin collection changes.

His idea could see the creation of a second chamber in the National Assembly for Wales, in Cardiff Bay, made up of 60 unelected citizens, who would look at decisions made in the Senedd.

It would mean residents could get a letter in the post asking them to serve, which could be for one day a month for a year or more, he said.
Speaking ahead of the publication of an essay in the Western Mail, Mr Melding said: “The actual second chamber would not consist of 60 set people, it would be 600 people, or 6,000 over several years.”

He added: “It would be a letter saying you have been selected to engage in some form of participation, the citizen would have a choice because obviously not everybody would want to come down to Cardiff to sit in Tŷ Hywel and have a debate about something that is then fed into the Senedd.

“You’d have options, one might be to do some service in your local town council for instance, or to sit on a local citizens’ jury looking at whether a leisure centre should be built or not.”

One Response

  1. Interesting heading to the article: Compulsory Welsh citizen ‘democratic duty’ call and that it’s a conservative assembly member who is calling for it. Makes a change from Ranciere and the usual suspects.


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