Who took part?

Climate Assembly UK had 108 members selected through a process known as ‘sortition’ or a ‘civic lottery’ to be representative of the UK population. They included include engineers, health workers, parents and grandparents.

How does a civic lottery work?

From 6 November 2019, 30,000 letters were sent to people up and down the country inviting them to take part in Climate Assembly UK.

To ensure the most representative sample, 80% of those receiving an invitation were randomly selected from every UK household address in Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File. The remaining 20% were randomly selected from the most deprived areas within the Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File, simply because response rates are estimated to be lower from these postcodes.

People receiving an invitation could RSVP by phone or online. This created a pool of potential participants free on the relevant dates.

We then used random stratified sampling, undertaken by a computer, to select the 110 participants who together are representative of the UK population aged 16 years and over in terms of:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Educational qualification
  • Ethnicity
  • Where in the UK they live
  • Whether they live in an urban or rural area
  • Attitudes to climate change

The computer also ensured that a maximum of one person from any single household was selected to participate.

Who was eligible to take part?

Permanent UK residents, aged 16 and over, living in a household that received an invitation, could RSVP to take part in the assembly. By “permanent UK resident” we mean anyone that has stayed, or intends to stay, in the UK for a period of 12 months or more at the date on the invitation letter.

The following people could not apply:

  • Members of either Houses of UK Parliament, National Assembly for Wales, Scottish Parliament, or Northern Ireland Assembly - and the staff of any of these Members;
  • Local Authority Councillors;
  • Elected mayors;
  • Paid employees of any political party or of UK Parliament.

How closely do the 108 assembly members match the UK population?

We selected 105 assembly members to match the UK population as closely as possible. A total of 110 members were selected to account for any drop-outs.

We used the remaining five spaces to over-sample groups that are either very small (meaning that an assembly member being ill for a weekend, for example, would leave them poorly represented) or which are more likely to drop out of the assembly process. For example, we have slightly over sampled members from Northern Ireland. Similarly, taken together, people in the attitudes to climate change poll who are ‘not at all’ or ‘not very concerned’ about climate change are slightly over-represented (+ 3 people) amongst assembly members.

Where assembly members had to withdraw between recruitment and the first weekend of the assembly, we replaced them from the pool of potential assembly members. We tried to find as exact a match for the person withdrawing as possible against all the selection criteria.

The table below shows how the 110 assembly members (of which a total of 108 attended the Assembly), as of 17 January 2020, compared to the UK population.

Age (source: ONS estimate mid-2018)
Criteria UK population % Assembly member % No. assembly members
16-29 21.7 22.7 25
30-44 23.8 25.5 28
45-59 25.0 24.5 27
60+ 29.4 27.3 30
Gender (source: ONS estimate mid-2018)
Criteria UK population % Assembly member % No. assembly members
Male 49.4 49.1 54
Female 50.6 50 55
Other 0 0.9 1
Education qualification (source: England and Wales, Scotland, NI)
Criteria UK population % Assembly member % No. assembly members
No Qualifications / Level 1 36.3 38.2 41
Level 2 / Level 3 / Apprenticeship/ Other 36.5 33.6 38
Level 4 and above 27.2 28.2 31
Ethnicity (source: ONS UK Census 2011)
Criteria UK population % Assembly member % No. assembly members
White 87 83.6 92
BAME 13 16.4 18
Where people live (source: ONS estimate mid-2018)
Criteria UK population % Assembly member % No. assembly members
North East 4.0 4.5 5
North West 11.0 10.9 12
Yorkshire and The Humber 8.3 8.2 9
East Midlands 7.2 7.3 8
West Midlands 8.9 8.2 9
East of England 9.3 9.1 10
London 13.4 12.7 14
South East 13.8 12.7 14
South West 8.4 8.2 9
Wales 4.7 5.5 6
Scotland 8.2 9.1 10
Northern Ireland 2.8 3.6 4
Urban or rural area (source: England and Wales, based on RUC2011, NI, Scotland)
Criteria UK population % Assembly member % No. assembly members
Urban 82 80 88
Rural 18 20 22
Attitudes to climate change (source: Ipsos/Mori, July 2019. Q: How concerned, if at all, are you about climate change, sometimes referred to as ‘global warming’?)
Criteria UK population % Assembly member % No. assembly members
Very concerned 51.8 49.1 54
Fairly concerned 33.2 32.7 36
Not very concerned 9.3 14.5 16
Not at all concerned 5.1 2.7 3
Other 0.6 0.9 1