The Leicester Climate Assembly was held on 18 January 2020, enabling 50 representative members of the public to provide input on the local council's Sustainability Action Plan. It formed part of a wider programme of engagement by the council called “Leicester’s Climate Conversation”.
Problems and Purpose
The Leicester Climate Assembly formed part of Leicester’s Climate Conversation; three months of engagement with citizens to determine a roadmap to carbon neutrality. The council did not have the resources to convene a formal Citizen’s Assembly, and the method of selection and length of time of the Assembly deviated from standard practice. Nevertheless, the event was organised to provide public input in the Climate Action Plan, and was described as an attempt to challenge “business as usual” and “put Leicester in a room”.
Background History and Context
Leicester Council launched its sustainability action plan in 2016; it presents 92 actions that they have committed to take by 2019, including launching an affordable energy provider (Fosse Energy), upgrading boilers and insulation in homes, and improving access to more environmentally friendly forms of transport and green spaces. Input from the public on the City’s Action plan was seen as essential. As such, the council launched a 12-week programme of consultations called Leicester’s Climate Emergency Conversation. This involved a range of public engagement efforts including an online consultation which ran until 9th February and two citizens’ assemblies. The Leicester Climate Assembly was held on Saturday 18th January with participants who were anonymously selected to represent a cross section of the city’s population. This was followed by a Young People’s Climate Assembly engaging 104 pupils from 12 local schools, which took place on 27th January 2020. The event was championed by Deputy City Mayor Councillor Adam Clarke and was designed to feed into the council’s wider emergency climate consultations.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
The assembly was run by Leicester City Council with support from grassroots democracy experts, Talkshop and the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, manufactures and Commerce). RSA is a charity with a 30,000 strong fellowship that aims to build networks and help people to collaborate and influence social change.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
Leicester residents were invited to apply to attend the Citizen’s Assembly. The event was widely advertised on websites, via social media. Although the selection was therefore not random, the 50 participants were selected against anonymous demographic data to reflect the diversity of the wider population. The event attracted delegates who had an interest, knowledge, and passion for the subject as well as those that were new to the issues. The council was to meet childcare costs, travel expenses and offer a £20 gift voucher to anyone taking part in the first meeting. 
Methods and Tools Used
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
Leicester’s Climate Assembly took place on Saturday 18th January 2020, between 10:00 to 16:00 at the City Hall In Leicester. The event was run and facilitated by RSA using their Talkshop methodology.
Deputy City Mayor Cllr Adam Clarke provided a welcoming address. Following this, the 50 participants were asked to discuss changes that might be required in their homes, workplaces, transportation and through wider consumer choices. The issue of managing development and waste more sustainably was also discussed. People debated in tables and voted on different actions, considering how benefits may be realised and costs mitigated.
Deputy City Mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who gave the welcoming address to the climate assembly, said:
“This is the first time the city council has brought together an assembly in this way and the feedback from the day will play a really important part in Leicester’s wider climate emergency consultation.
Responding to the climate emergency will mean making big changes to the way we live and work. It affects us all and that’s why getting the public involved in helping to shape how the city responds is so important.
It was very encouraging that so many people were prepared to invest their time in our first Climate Assembly. The feedback and ideas from the sessions will be a vital part of wider climate emergency conversation." 
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
Know what influence and effects this initiative had? Help us complete this section!
Analysis and Lessons Learned
Want to contribute an analysis of this initiative? Help us complete this section!
 Leicester City Council. (2019, Dec 13). Council seeks members for first Leicester Climate Assembly. https://news.leicester.gov.uk/news-articles/2019/december/council-seeks-members-for-first-leicester-climate-assembly/
 An online discussion forum was launched at dialogue.leicester.gov.uk/climate-emergency-conversation
 Leicester City Council. (2020, Jan 20). Leicester’s first climate assembly meets to help shape action plan. https://news.leicester.gov.uk/news-articles/2020/january/leicester-s-first-climate-assembly-meets-to-help-shape-action-plan/