Herefordshire: The cost of sortition

Christopher Baily, from Weston under Penyard, writes the following in a letter to the Hereford Times:

How much did Climate Assembly cost Herefordshire Council?

ACCORDING to the Herefordshire Council website the Herefordshire Citizens’ Climate Assembly discussed last month how Herefordshire should meet the challenges of climate change.

The people taking part were chosen from households invited to register their interest by an independent organisation called the Sortition Foundation, who were to make sure the final group represented the diversity of Herefordshire’s population.

On its website the Sortition Foundation says that together we can fix our broken politics.

May I ask whether David Hitchiner, the leader of the council for the past three years, subscribes to the view that our politics are in fact broken and, if so, what the council has been doing about it?

Perhaps he might also tell us, in the spirit of openness and accountability, how much of our money has been spent on engaging Sortition in this way, along with Impact Consultancy and Research and the Involve Foundation helping to run the assembly.

Disclosure of costs may be a rather trivial matter, and the obsession with this issue reflects the “broken politics” we are saddled with. But the issue of transparency around the application of sortition is crucial. Without transparency, it is easy to suspect that the whole process is being manipulated behind the scenes by established powers.