Frequently Asked Questions
People's Assembly for Nature
What is a People’s Assembly?
A People’s Assembly (also known as a Citizens’ Assembly) is a group of people from all walks of life, brought together to have an honest conversation and find common ground on an issue that matters.
Find out more about citizen’s assemblies.
What is the People’s Assembly for Nature?
The People’s Assembly for Nature will see participants representing the UK population explore the question ‘What should we do to protect and restore nature in the UK?’. At the end of the assembly the participants will decide on a set of recommendations for the actions that governments, businesses, communities and individuals should take to protect and restore nature in the UK.
What will be the outcome of the People’s Assembly?
The People’s Assembly for Nature will produce a set of recommendations for governments, businesses, communities and individuals. A report and a suite of creative assets designed to ensure accessibility across a range of audiences will be published.
What will happen after the Assembly?
The People’s Plan for Nature will be published in spring 2023 as a result of the People’s Assembly.
The National Trust, the RSPB and WWF will use the People's Plan for Nature to engage governments, businesses, communities and individuals on how we can all protect and restore UK nature.
What are the dates and times of the sessions?
The Assembly will take place over four weekends between November 2022 and February 2023. Two weekends will be online, and two will be in person in central Birmingham.
Weekend 1: 12-13 November 2022
Weekend 2: 3-4 December 2022
Weekend 3: 14-15 January 2023
Weekend 4: 4-5 February 2023
Who is running the event?
The event has been commissioned by the National Trust, the RSPB and WWF, and is being run by Involve and the Sortition Foundation.
Involve develops, supports and campaigns for new ways to involve people in decisions that affect their lives. They will organise and run the People’s Assembly for Nature.
Sortition Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that specialises in recruiting and selecting people by lottery to take part in these kinds of events, in a way that is broadly representative of the wider population.
How were Involve and Sortition chosen to take part?
Involve and Sortition were recruited as delivery leads for the People’s Assembly via a public tendering process.
Who is paying for the People’s Assembly, including the £800 honorarium for participants?
The People’s Plan for Nature, and the People’s Assembly for Nature, are funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Samworth Foundation.
The People’s Assembly for Nature has been underwritten by the National Trust, the RSPB and WWF.
Can I watch or comment on the People's Assembly online?
To ensure a robust, democratic process, only assembly participants can take part directly. However, all the evidence and content presented over each weekend of the assembly will be publicly available to view, including video recordings of speakers. You will be able to keep up to date with assembly topics and discussions online.
How will you ensure the event is accessible?
The People’s Plan for Nature aims to represent everyone across the UK. It’s vital that the People’s Assembly is accessible to everyone so that everyone can take part. We’re taking lots of action to make sure that the event is accessible.
The in-person meetings will be held at an accessible venue and participants will be provided with food and accommodation, and transport expenses will be covered. Participants will also receive £800 for their time.
Read our catering and travel policy
We will provide internet-enabled digital devices and an internet connection for use during the online Assembly meetings for those who do not have access to a suitable device or internet connection. We will also offer one-to-one phone calls and online introductory sessions to help learn the IT skills needed to join the Assembly. Technical support during Assembly meetings will also be available.
The information provided during the Assembly will be as jargon-free as possible. There will be opportunities to ask speakers to explain what they mean if what they are saying is not clear.
If participants require any form of additional support, for example, translation, or support with accessibility issues, childcare or other caring expenses, then every attempt will be made to provide this. Participants will be asked for any specific requirements when they are selected.
Will there be updates on what happened after each session?
All the evidence and content presented over each weekend of the assembly will be publicly available to view, including video recordings of speakers. You will be able to keep up to date with assembly topics and discussions online.
How are speakers and evidence sessions decided?
Content for the People’s Assembly will be developed by Involve with support from the Academic Leads within the independent Advisory Group.
The wider Advisory Group will also be consulted to ensure all suggested content is appropriate, accurate and accessible for the purposes of the assembly. Speakers will be proposed by the project team and Academic Leads and approved by the Advisory Group to ensure breadth of opinion and evidence.
Can anyone take part in the Assembly?
The assembly is only open to people who received an invite in the post. The final attendees have been chosen from this group of people to represent the population of the UK.
Why isn’t the People’s Assembly open to everyone?
In order for the assembly members to be able to produce a set of recommendations that is as free from bias or influence as possible, it needs to be a private process.
The national conversation which informs the People’s Plan for Nature provided the opportunity for everyone to have their say. The results of this have been fed into the People’s Assembly for Nature.
How were people recruited for the People’s Assembly?
Assembly participants were recruited through a selection process undertaken by the Sortition Foundation. First, invites were posted to 33,000 homes selected at random via the Royal Mail database. Those who were keen to take part then registered their interest and were required to submit the following information:
Highest educational qualification
How much they agree/disagree with the following statement: ‘I feel part of nature’
This information, along with where in the UK people who registered live, enabled the Sortition Foundation to select the final 110 participants.
How were households selected to receive an invite?
33,000 addresses from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were randomly selected from the Royal Mail address database.
Why did you contact 33,000 households if only 110 were going to be picked?
Sortition Foundation’s guidance is for 300 invites to be sent for every participant needed at the final event. We have estimated that we will need 110 final acceptances in order to account for any last minute drop-outs. 300 invites per participant for 110 participants is 33,000 invites.
Who chose the final 100 participants?
Sortition Foundation, an independent not-for-profit organisation that specialises in recruiting and selecting people by lottery has recruited the final 110 participants.
Participants were selected at random through stratified sampling (and enhanced recruitment efforts where needed) to ensure participants are broadly representative of the UK.
Do participants have to attend all of the sessions?
Yes, participants have to attend all of the sessions.
What will taking part involve?
Participants will have the opportunity to meet with individuals from many walks of life who live all around the UK. They will hear from engaging speakers, and will discuss the issues involved in small groups, with facilitators to make sure everyone has their voice heard.
Over the course of the People’s Assembly for Nature, participants will hear from scientists, politicians, industry leaders, different community groups and members of the public to understand the pressures UK nature is under and what solutions might be available. They will be presented with a broad variety of evidence and opinion and will be encouraged and supported to critically evaluate what they hear. Participants will not need to have any prior knowledge of the topics – all the information will be provided during the events.
At the end of the four weekends, participants will prioritise what they understand to be the most crucial solutions to protect and restore nature in the UK.
If participants have to be over 16, how will you ensure inclusion of children’s and younger youth voices?
During October 2022 people of all ages from across the UK shared their ideas on the future of UK nature via the People’s Plan for Nature website. These ideas have been incorporated into the People’s Assembly and so will have a role in the recommendations that are created from the assembly.
The Advisory Group will also assess the overall balance of evidence that the assembly will hear to make sure that many different perspectives are represented in the evidence.
Why are you paying people to take part?
Each participant will receive £800 for taking part in the People’s Assembly. This is to acknowledge the value of their time, and to ensure the assembly in inclusive and everyone can attend without it affecting them financially.
If people are being paid, won’t it impact what they say?
Participants will receive the payment regardless of what they say. The People’s Assembly is designed to spark debate and conversation, and all opinions are welcome. It’s important that we hear opinions from across the full spectrum in order to be truly representative of the UK public.
The People’s Assembly is being run independently by Involve and overseen by an Advisory Group independent of the three charities to reduce any influence of the National Trust, the RSPB and WWF on the results.
Are participants provided with accommodation and travel costs?
All participants will be provided with accommodation and travel costs for the two in-person sessions in November and February. This is to ensure that everyone has equal access to the assembly, and that nobody is unable to take part due to the cost of travel or finding accommodation.
Read our catering and travel policy
What’s the carbon impact of people travelling to the People’s Assembly in-person sessions? Did anyone fly to the sessions?
All participants and organisations involved in the assembly must adhere to the People’s Assembly for Nature travel policy, which recommends public transport for any travel to the assembly. However, accessibility is a priority in making sure that everyone can attend the event, and this will be addressed with each participant to ensure they are supported with the mode of transport that best suits their needs.
Will there be meat on the menu for participants of the People’s Assembly?
All participants and organisations involved in the assembly must adhere to the People’s Assembly for Nature catering policy.
How will you ensure this process is representative and inclusive?
Sortition Foundation have used stratified sampling to ensure participants of the People’s Assembly are broadly representative of the UK. The Advisory Group and speakers have also been selected with representation, inclusion and diversity of experience and thought in mind.
Assembly participants, Advisory Group members and speakers will be paid for their time spent on the project, as well as expenses being covered for travel, food and accommodation at the in-person weekends to ensure cost isn’t a barrier to participation. Support will be offered to those who don’t have adequate digital connection and facilitators will be on hand at every session to make sure information is accessible and participants can understand the topics and questions clearly.
What is the role of the Advisory Group?
The Advisory Group is an integral part of the People’s Assembly. Its role is to:
Provide advice and guidance on the scientific evidence presented to the People’s Assembly;
Check the resources and materials presented to the People’s Assembly, making sure that they are balanced, accurate and include perspectives from across all four nations;
Help give context to the work of the People’s Assembly within wider debates on biodiversity loss, climate change and food production & consumption.
Connect the People’s Plan for Nature programme to other initiatives to share learnings;
Advise and support the delivery team in ensuring the process is accessible and equitable for all attendees.
The members of the Advisory Group have expertise in the areas that the People’s Assembly will cover: biodiversity, climate change, and food and farming. They are representative of a broad range of ideological standpoints, representing different parts of society, including business, government representatives, academia, NGOs and civil society groups.
Find out more about the Advisory Group
Who chose the Advisory Group?
The project design team for the People’s Assembly for Nature - consisting of Involve and staff members from the RSPB, the National Trust and WWF - created a shortlist that focused on ensuring the Advisory Group includes:
breadth of perspective;
representation of the devolved nations;
representation of different parts of society;
an intergenerational focus and;
an understanding of the topic area in question.
This list was also reviewed by the two Academic Leads working on this project.
Who is part of the Advisory Group and why were they chosen?
A full list of the Advisory Group members can be found here.
The Advisory Group is an integral part of making sure the People’s Assembly is a fair, balanced and well-informed process. The members have been selected for their technical expertise and their diverse experiences, as well as to challenge accepted views and oversee an independent, robust and democratic design process. The Advisory Group includes people with diverse opinions to ensure the assembly content is well-balanced.
Find out more about the Advisory Group
Are you paying the Advisory Group? If so, why?
The Advisory Group will be offered a minimum of £150 per meeting across 4 meetings to recognise the time they give to this work. This is important to ensure that the breadth and diversity of perspectives required can be part of the Advisory Group.
Read our catering policy for the People's Assembly for Nature.
Read our travel policy for the People's Assembly for Nature.