The Southwark Climate Change Citizens’ Jury


The jury saw 25 local citizens consider the question, ‘What needs to change in Southwark to tackle the emergency of climate change fairly and effectively for people and nature?’

Southwark Council launched the recruitment process for its citizens’ climate jury in October 2021.

The Sortition Foundation sent letters to 5,000 households randomly selected from the Royal Mail’s address database. Only citizens from the household which received the letter from the council were able to register to take part.

The selection process made sure there was a diverse range of people in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, housing tenure, where people live and attitude to climate change, reflecting the local population in the borough of Southwark.

The jury met over eight sessions: six online Thursday evening sessions starting on 25 November, 2021, and ending on 3 February, 2022. Two daytime sessions were also held on 4 December and 22 January. Lunch was provided and al participants received £330 in vouchers as a thank you for their time.

The Recommendations

Jury members, selected to reflect the diversity of the population, listened to and questioned a range of expert commentators. Then they shared their ideas, deliberated on the issues, before creating a set of recommendations to be taken to Southwark Borough Council to consider. 

The Jury members came up with a set of recommendations including: 

  • Removing barriers to local residents walking.
  • Affordable, accessible and appealing public transport.
  • Improving the energy efficiency of housing.
  • Increasing transparency and accountability on council activities.

In a collective statement in the report, the jury said:

“Having had, through this jury process, the opportunity to learn more about the impacts of climate change on Southwark and beyond, as well as the many potential solutions, some of us feel let down and overwhelmed because the gravity of the situation was not made clear to us in the past.

We feel worried, angry and disappointed and are concerned that we are not acting like this is an emergency.

We must have change and we must have a future.

We are passionate about being part of Southwark and care about the future of our borough.

There must be rapid and decisive implementation of the action that is needed. This action must be taken by the council and others; it must be bold and must be more than gestures. With the council blazing the path and leading by example and propelling the movement to change.
The council must look beyond its own immediate power at the same time as bringing all of its own departments together with a real sense of holistic purpose. At the same time we believe legislation must exist to enable the council to take the action needed.

Although we recognise that individuals must bear some responsibility we urge council to recognise that we are not prepared to bear the brunt of change if we are not given the tools, encouragement and infrastructure for us to be equipped and empowered to act.

Having come together to deliberate and produce recommendations we expect measures to be put in place to allow the Council and others to rapidly come back to the citizens of Southwark to report on progress in implementation of these recommendations with strong specific commitments.”

The Jury produced its final report in March. Download the report here.