Foreword from the Convener

Kate seated with pen

In October 2019 over 100 ordinary citizens from all over Scotland came together for the first ever meeting of a Citizens Assembly in Scotland. It was an extraordinary moment. With the buzz and energy in the room it was obvious that something special was happening. We created special bonds which have only been strengthened as time has gone on.

And it has been some journey. We came together in challenging times but no one could have predicted just what would happen to the world around us.

There are many remarkable things about the Assembly, as this report demonstrates. Above all, it has restored my faith in what can be achieved when we work together, respecting differences of view but putting these aside to find common ground. Members have worked incredibly hard and with determination to see the process through to completion. They have developed skills and confidence. They have tackled complicated and contentious policy issues, working through challenges and identifying solutions. Many of them felt that in the past their voice would not be heard but in this report it shines through clearly, articulately and urgently.

This truly has been politics done differently.And it works. I have no doubt about that.

This Assembly has now completed its work with the vision and recommendations set out in this report. These are entirely the words of Assembly members. The rest of the report has been prepared by the Secretariat drawing on the themes identified by and in consultation with Assembly members. Chapters 1 to 3 explain the Assembly journey, chapters 4 and 5 provide more detail on how the vision and recommendations were prepared. The final word on the Assembly of course should also be in the words of Assembly members; chapter 6 is a collection of diaries from members who chose to provide them setting out their personal reflections on the journey.

Our friendships will last a lifetime but the next stage of this journey is for others. The Assembly vision and recommendations set out what citizens think is important for the future of the country and the actions they think should be taken to fulfil these ambitions. The Assembly will present the report to the Scottish Government and the Parliament, the Government will seek an early opportunity for a parliamentary debate and produce a plan for how the recommendations will be taken forward.

The Assembly has been a memorable experience. I am delighted to add my name to this report, which we hope is of interest to and discussed by everyone interested in the future of our country and that the Assembly vision and recommendations are supported more widely.

Kate holding controller