What is a People's Assembly?

citizens change the world peoples assembly surrey

A People’s Assembly is a way for diverse groups and individuals, often with competing interests and priorities, to share ideas, listen to each other, and come to decisions through a structured discussion that allows every voice equal weight and opportunity to speak.

People's assemblies have been used throughout history and all over the world as a means to enable people to come together and achieve real social change, and shape a society for the good of all.

While not to be confused with a formally constituted Citizens’ Assembly, a People’s Assembly (PA) gives ordinary people the opportunity to work together in an accepting and open forum, discuss and reflect on important issues. Trained facilitators provide structure to the discussion and ensure no one dominates.

People's Assemblies produce a desired outcome - be that a vision, a decision, or an agreed path forward; whether that path is for action by those attending or, for instance, by a group of school Governors, a membership organisation, or a local or regional Council.

As a PA is 'self-selected', meaning that anyone can choose to take part, and it is not formally set up. Thus, there is no prior commitment from any authority to pay attention to the findings - unlike that with a Citizens' Assembly. Nevertheless, when a wide cross section of any community come together and agree a forward path to a desired destination, the collective momentum and commitment to action can move mountains.

More information about People's Assemblies can be found here.

The Outcomes

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." - Goethe

By coming together in a People's Assembly, expressing our ideas and listening to those of others, we believe we can create a radical shared vision for how we would like life to be in 2030.

We share the vision from East Surrey 2030 with Mole Valley, Reigate & Banstead and Tandridge District Councils and Surrey County Council – who are yet to demonstrate the radical forward thinking needed to solve our current economic, social, environmental and ecological problems.

More information on Citizens’ Assemblies (CAs)

CAs are made up of ordinary people who are randomly selected from the population, similar to jury service. The selection is done in a way that ensures that Assembly members accurately reflect the whole population in terms of key characteristics such as gender, age, ethnicity, education level and geography. This means they will better reflect and represent the interests of the entire population.

CAs have been used around the world to solve problems deemed intractable by local authorities and politicians. You can read more about CAs from these links: