Third sector leader to co-chair Citizens’ Assembly

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Kate Wimpress will oversee the organisation and functioning of the Assembly alongside former Labour MEP David Martin.

7th August 2019 by Gavin Stuart 1 Comment

A third sector leader said she is honoured to have been chosen as one of two independent conveners appointed to lead the first Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland.

Kate Wimpress will oversee the organisation and functioning of the Assembly alongside former Labour MEP David Martin.

Ms Wimpress is currently the director of North Edinburgh Arts and chair of Scotland’s Regeneration Forum. She also sits on the boards of Tinderbox Orchestra and North Edinburgh Childcare.

Previously, she led Edinburgh’s Capital City Partnership Arts for Inclusion programme. 

Mr Martin was a Member of the European Parliament for 35 years, serving as a vice president from 1989 to 2004. He is currently a member of the First Minister’s Standing Council on Europe 

The appointments were announced by constitutional relations secretary Michael Russell, who described it as a key moment for the project.

He said: “The Citizens’ Assembly will enable people to engage with complex and contested issues about our constitution on an inclusive, informed and respectful basis.

“It is part of a process of expanding and enriching our democracy. Politicians do not have all the answers and people’s voices need to be heard.

“The appointment of the conveners to lead the Assembly is an important moment. I am delighted to welcome David and Kate to their roles and look forward to watching this initiative progress.”

The Assembly will have a minimum of 100 members who broadly reflect the adult population of Scotland in terms of age, gender, socio-economic class, ethnic group, geography and political attitudes.

It will consider three main issues: what kind of country are we seeking to build; how we can best overcome challenges facing us, including Brexit, and what further work should be carried out to gain the information needed to make informed choices about the future of Scotland.

The Assembly is independent from government and will decide its own agenda and call expert witnesses. At the end of the process it will produce a series of recommendations.

Ms Wimpress said: “It is an honour to take up the post of convener of the Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland and to work alongside David.

“I applaud the Assembly’s ambition, enabling mature debate by making enough time, space and support available to interrogate complex issues. Twenty five years working with communities has shown me, many times over, that transparent, inclusive and respectful engagement leads to the best outcomes.”

Mr Martin added: "I am delighted to have the opportunity to co-chair Scotland's first Citizens' Assembly. This is an unprecedented chance to place Scottish citizens at the heart of our political debate at a time of momentous change in our relationship with Europe.

“I am greatly looking forward to hearing directly from the members of the Assembly on how they want to shape our country."

7th August 2019 by Lok Yue

And here was me thinking the Scottish Parliament and indeed local Councillors constituted elected leaders