Deliberative democracy

Citizens’ councils and Citizens’ Assemblies

Are you faced with a complex issue where you need someone other than a soldier of fortune to make informed recommendations to decision-makers? Then a Citizens’ Assembly or a citizens’ council can qualify your decision-making basis!

How do we work with Citizens’ Assemblies and citizens’ councils?

Deliberative democracy is systematically utilised at the decision-making level in countries we typically compare ourselves to. The method is recommended by the OECD and is used systematically in the EU, the UK, Ireland, France and Belgium.

We Do Democracy are Denmark’s leading expert advisors in designing and running Citizens’ Assemblies and citizens’ councils in accordance with the OECD Principles for Deliberative Processes, which ensure legitimacy according to internationally recognised standards. This means ensuring arm’s length, independence and representativeness.

Citizens’ councils and Citizens’ Assemblies are a solid, proven method for ensuring representation of an entire population across different profiles. The format has a high level of legitimacy, ensuring that citizens work independently and produce recommendations that are often visionary and balanced in nature and long-term solutions to difficult political issues.

We apply the method at different scales – from limited and relatively brief Citizens’ Assemblies to larger, complex and long-term citizens’ councils. We provide tailor-made designs for the organisation we work with and work purposefully with capacity building of the organisation’s employees to ensure that the competence for more participatory democracy is embedded in the organisation.


We are here to help:

01_ Design and organisation

Facilitate the political and administrative decision-making process and framework for a Citizens’ Assembly that complies with the OECD principles.

Develop and quality assure the core issue to be worked on and ensure that it is anchored in the political part of the organisation, e.g., through the mandate that is adopted.

Design and organise the citizens’ councils from start to finish – from project group and steering group to potential political follow-up group.

Anchoring and change management through competence development and mobilisation of process hosts. And, often more broadly with key people such as managers, professionals and politicians.


Macro-design programmes to suit the task, participants and framework.

What is deliberative democracy?

A representative group of citizens are recruited via stratified random draw to develop shared answers to difficult and often dilemma-filled issues. The initiators are organisations that have decision-making responsibility in the area – often a government or a city council, but can also be a board of directors of an organisation, such as a utility company, a professional organisation or an urban developer that relies on sound political decisions.

The members work together in a programme over a defined period of time where they receive expert input and consult with relevant parties.

The recommendations are ultimately submitted to the commissioning organisations, providing politicians with a well-founded and broad-based response to complex, concrete issues.

02_ Drawing of lots and facilitation

Drawing of lots, recruitment and onboarding of members of parliament, ensuring representative participation on a range of socio-economic parameters – e.g., age, gender, education, place of residence. In collaboration with Analyse & Tal and/or Statistics Denmark

Design, facilitate and document each session in the process – in collaboration with the organisation’s own project team.

Advise on the involvement of all other stakeholders and the inclusion of the many other voices in the process so that they contribute constructively to the work of the Citizens’ Assembly.

03_ Handover and implementation

Handover of the final recommendations so that decision-makers, officials and the organisation can ensure further anchoring and change.

Evaluation design and post-evaluation counselling – decision-making, implementation, communication between commissioners and citizens’ council members, including follow-up.

Anchor recommendations, evaluate and implement the recommendations in the organisation for future decisions and anchoring.


Together with Analyse & Tal, we have helped create the platform, where you can read much more about the method and principles behind citizen gatherings and citizen things

Do you want to
know more?

Zakia Elvang

Zakia Elvang

Partner and democracy advisor