Annex 12: Voting on recommendations–guidance note on the decision-making process, the 60 draft recommendations and supporting material

Introduction

This annex firstly outlines the guidance provided to members to support decision-making in weekend 8 and then outlines the 60 draft recommendations that were produced in weekend 7 and voted on in weekend 8, alongside the supporting material developed by members in small groups in weekend 7.

Part 1

What are recommendations?

Recommendations are the actions that you think are most important to achieve the Assembly vision or other matters discussed during the Assembly. They are a response to remit questions 2 and 3 ‘how to overcome challenges’ or ‘further information needed to take informed decisions’.

Remit question 2 recommendations are most likely where members agree:

  • a specific action to achieve a defined outcome or output, and
  • the action is supported by evidence considered in the Assembly i.e. it will have the effect that is envisaged.

Recommendations should be realistic. In other words members should agree that recommendations of this type could be expected to be taken forward within the next 5 years. For very substantial issues, it might be necessary to break this down a bit and describe the initial action you want to see as part of a longer journey of change.

Remit question 3 recommendations are most likely where members agree:

  • further investigation of an area is required, or
  • specific action to achieve defined outcomes or outputs is thought to be appropriate, but is not sufficiently supported by the evidence considered by the Assembly.

This type of recommendations could also cover areas where memebers are not confident that a proposed action is realistic and therefore further investigation or more information is required to establish this.

What evidence have we considered and why is it important?

Hearing from experts, discussing evidence, sharing experiences and then making recommendations is central to a Citizens’ Assembly process.

The Assembly learning journey includes:

  • general evidence about the country, including the constitutional position and how decisions are taken for and about Scotland
  • more detailed evidence on the challenges of building a sustainable country and relating to the public finances and tax, including some of the key constitutional aspects of those challenges. In weekends 3 and 4 you developed initial ideas where action might be taken on these challenges.
  • some evidence on the impacts of and ideas to respond to the COVID pandemic
  • different approaches to the economy and what makes for happiness, and how values influence decision-making.
  • different sources of evidence and how to interpret these.

In addition, throughout the Assembly members have engaged with experts and developed new skills in deliberation. You have learned from the ‘lived experience’ of fellow citizens. You heard from a politicians’ panel about their priorities for action and about how decisions are taken in and for Scotland.

All of these are kinds of evidence and part of the Assembly learning journey. You can therefore draw from all of this in deciding upon recommendations.

What should we be thinking about when we decide on recommendations?

There is no ‘ideal’ number of recommendations but when considering the draft recommendations, you may want to take into account the points set out below – these points will certainly be important for the Government and Parliament in deciding how to respond to the recommendations. Points to consider:

  • Is the outcome clear?
  • Will the proposed action achieve the outcome intended?
  • Is the recommendation realistic i.e. able to be taken forward in the next 5 years?
  • Does the supporting material explain the recommendation i.e. why it is important and how it is supported by evidence?

But it is also important to recognise that there has not been time to review and refine the draft recommendations and you should not be put off things just because they are not as fully written up as you think they could be. The Government and Parliament need to see what the issues are that matter to you so please don’t be put off from supporting recommendations if you think the ideas are generally sound and are supported by evidence.

How do we prepare for the weekend?

Part 2 of the pack provides the full set of 60 draft recommendations together with the supporting material prepared in weekend 7. This material has been prepared to help you prepare for the weekend. Part 2 of the pack is a lengthy document so please do not worry about getting through all of the detail; it has been provided so that you can look in more detail at the areas that you want to focus on most as you think about voting at the weekend.

To make it easier to work through the material the recommendations have been organised into groups. Each group of recommendations has a short introduction explaining what the recommendations cover and any other relevant points, such as where recommendations overlap or where there are substantive constitutional elements.

There will be no problem with supporting more than one recommendation on a similar topic, or which may in whole or in part be in areas reserved to the UK Government or Parliament. Of course there will be practical issues to be thought about in taking forward those recommendations, but most important of all is that the Scottish Government and Parliament know how much the Assembly supports each individual recommendation.

The groups are as follows:

Session 1

Group A How decisions are taken
Group B Incomes and poverty
Group C Tax and economy
Group D Young people

Session 2

Group E Sustainability
Group F Health and wellbeing
Group G Further powers
Group H No common theme

How will voting work?

At weekend 8, members will again read out the recommendations as happened at the end of weekend 7. As the agenda sets out, these presentations will take place over 2 sessions with 4 groups of recommendations covered in each session. After each session there will be a short discussion in small groups and an extended break so that you can complete your votes.

Voting will take part in two stages and will open at the beginning of each session and close at the end of the extended break. Voting will be conducted by survey monkey (the same method as weekends 6 and 7) in line with the choices you made in weekend 7, as follows:

  • Members will vote on each recommendation on the following scale:
image of recommendations ratings

 Votes for each recommendation will be tallied so as to give an average star rating and be adopted by the Assembly as follows:

Recommendations scoring template

Part 2

This part of the annex, which can be accessed here outlines the 60 draft recommendations that were produced in weekend 7 and voted on in weekend 8, alongside the supporting material developed by members in small groups in weekend 7.