The members of the Tolosa Citizens’ Assembly present their recommendations to the representatives of the Tolosa City Council
The Tolosa Citizens’ Assembly has been a process that has put deliberative democracy and collaborative governance into practice. It has been innovative, and, launched here for the first time, it has enabled the meaningful involvement of citizens in public policy making. Based on the principles of good practice defined by the OECD, the City Council of Tolosa and Arantzazulab have had the support of this institution to launch the project, which began in December 2021. The promoter group was immersed in the design of the process at the beginning of 2022. Subsequently, between the months of September and October 2022, 32 people from Tolosa, representing the local diversity based on age, gender, education level and place of residence, were chosen through a civic lottery.
The 32 selected citizens have participated in the 40-hour deliberation process. Between October and December, they met during five Saturdays to work on the recommendations to responde to the question posed by the Tolosa City Council: What can the Tolosa City Council do through public-community collaboration to achieve a Tolosa that improves the health and emotional well-being of everyone?
n the first sessions, the members of the Assembly listened to experts’ and practitioners’ presentations (from a theoretical and practical point of view) in order to receive information on emotional wellbeing and health as well as public-community collaboration. After this, they deliberated and drafted collective recommendations to answer the initial question.
The participants presented the following 14 recommendations to the City Council of Tolosa:
B_Getting to know the context of emotional wellbeing of the people in Tolosa
C_We all have a volunteer inside
D_Emotional wellbeing laboratory: Collective oven or vegetable garden
E_Information point to meet the needs of the citizens with the services of the municipality
F_Etxegazte: housing for young people
G_Overcoming the digital divide
H_Young people, LGTBIQ+, suicide: care, education and intervention
I_Experimenting contemporary volunteering in existing associations: tutoring, mediation, accompaniment service.
J_Connecting vases. Initiatives that generate relationships and networks (without age).
K_Space and leisure, young people (13/18)
L_Young people and gastronomic societies
N_Institutional trust: permanent participatory dynamics
Each of these recommendations has been voted on and they all received a level of support of more than 80% of Assembly members. In addition to the recommendations developed, other ideas that have arisen throughout the process have been collected in the section called “Seed Corner” and have been incorporated into the report presented to the municipal corporation.
For the formulation of the recommendations, the members of the Assembly have detailed the following: description of each proposal; they have justified it; to whom it is addressed; the stakeholders involved. The document with all the information is available on the project website.
Together with the written presentation of the work carried out, the Assembly members presented its experiences and recommendations to the representatives of the City Council of Tolosa in the session of the 17th of December -in addition to the Mayor of Tolosa, a representative of each of the political parties in the City Council came to the Vocational Training Centre where the Citizens’ Assembly of Tolosa took place-. On behalf of the group of citizens, 8 people took the floor, sharing different explanations about: why they decided to participate in the Citizens’ Assembly, the process followed in the deliberation sessions, the recommendations defined, the request to follow up on the recommendations and the positive effect that participation in the deliberations has had on each of them.
“This process has helped me to think about the needs of the collective, the needs of others and not just my own individual needs”
“It has been many years since I arrived to Tolosa, and this was the first time I felt part of something”
In accordance with the commitment made when the Assembly was convened, Tolosa Town Council will prepare a response to each of the recommendations at the beginning of 2023 and will hold a public presentation on the 11th of March in the Town Hall Plenary Hall. In this session, the Town Council of Tolosa will give a response to each of the recommendations, explaining which recommendations will be implemented and how they will be done, and which ones will not go ahead and why.
Over the next few weeks, a video will be published, in which the participants’ testimonies, the lessons learned and reflections of the promoting team, the voices of those who have worked on the implementation and the facilitation of the process will be shown. This audiovisual work will allow us to hear the details inplementing the initiative and the internal experiences. We will keep you posted!