Another Herefordshire citizen council letter to the editor

The Herefordshire citizen council for the climate has been the subject of a couple of critical letters to the editor of the Hereford Times last year. In a new letter, Frank Myers MBE from Ross-on-Wye is critical of the process as well, and in particular is unhappy about the fact that the identities of the members of the council are not made public.

Why won’t Herefordshire Council name Climate Assembly members?

LAST year a Citizen’s Climate Assembly was formed. Some 50 or so members were recruited and each were paid £300 for their participation.

The group was chosen, with the help of the infamous Sortition Foundation, in such a way that almost 90 per cent had preconceived concerns about climate change.

As we approach the local elections I think it is important to know how many of these people have put themselves forward for election for posts where they are paid nothing.

So I asked Herefordshire Council for their names and the council refused to disclose them.

So we are not allowed to know but Councillor Ellie Chowns, the leader of the Greens, who chaired the foundation proceedings, obviously knows their identity and has had the opportunity to share the Green message with them.

Is this democracy?

6 Responses

  1. A total farce and abuse of ratepayers money.Transparency is of the essence of Democracy.


  2. Why does MBE want their identities? He all but admits that he wants to influence the cohortees. Or at least assure that other parties influence them.

    The hall mark of a ca is that it is robust to such influence! One gets the feeling that MBE is used to having the ear of decision makers and doesn’t like it that he can’t nudge things “the right way”. Wonder who nominated him for an MBE!

    That said, CAs should be instigated in a transparent way and should not be instigated to achieve a preconceived outcome. The method for selection should be transparent and the stakeholder committee who design the process should be a broad church. If a political party instigates a CA it would do well to include members of other parties in the CA stake holder committee.

    Another key hall mark of CAs is that attendees often become energized. There are no requirements of electoral candidates to disclose prior jury service. I think attendance in a CA as a participant should be treated like jury service. Often such membership is a matter of public record. But sometimes, it is kept private to protect jurors from harassment, or revenge. In this case keeping the decision makers free from 3rd party interference is vital.

    In the the US it’s becoming more common to maintain juror anonymity routinely as a first amendment right to protect those members of the public.

    I think for a public CA participants should be able to choose whether to release that info for themselves.

    I would like to see more detail about the stratification process for this CA.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Also: having lottery selected cohorts stand for election afterwards is a great outcome!!! such energization connects different social networks to the elected council. Perhaps this MBE doesn’t like that social networks to which he is not connected have been energized to sue for formal power!

    That is literally democracy in action!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Leaving aside the anonymity issue, if the following is true, then it brings sortition into disrepute:

    The group was chosen, with the help of the infamous Sortition Foundation, in such a way that almost 90 per cent had preconceived concerns about climate change.


  5. Hi gdkavanagh,

    > Transparency is of the essence of Democracy.

    I agree – any kind of secrecy serves to reduce trust in the system, and surely we don’t have any surplus of trust to begin with.

    > A total farce and abuse of ratepayers money.

    I think here is would be better to be more specific. What exactly are you against? The entire idea of citizen policy bodies with random participants? Or something more specific?


  6. […] director of the Sortition Foundation, responds in a letter to the editor of the Hereford Times to an earlier letter to the editor claiming that the makeup of the Herefordshire Climate Assembly, whose members were selected by the […]


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