Street Voice insights: Inviting Jurors

A small team at the University of Oxford is organising a Citizens’ Jury to help answer important questions about how people can travel where they need to in Oxford in a climate-friendly way that promotes health. In the first of a series of blogs following the organisation of the Street Voice process, researcher Dr Alison Chisholm details how the team are recruiting the jurors.

Dr Alison Chisholm

Street Voice Researcher

Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford

Email: [email protected]

The recruitment of sixteen Street Voice “jurors” is well underway.

On 22nd April, 2000 letters were mailed to households selected randomly from the Royal Mail address database, from across 5 electoral wards in the Headington area: Headington, Headington Hill & Northway, Quarry & Risinghurst, Churchill and Barton & Sandhills wards. This area covers a range of neighbourhood types, proximity to shops, schools and services, levels of deprivation, and households within and outside the ring road. 

Roughly one in every eight households received an invitation to register their interest in taking part in the citizens’ jury. Anyone in the household aged 18 or over is eligible, and more than one person per household could register (though no more than one person per household will be selected).

To register, residents are invited to complete an online form or phone the project line, where they are then asked for some information about their age group, ethnic group, gender, whether they have a disability and how concerned they are about climate change. The Index of Multiple Deprivation is used as a proxy for socio-economic status. This information allows us to select a group of 16 that broadly match the population of Oxford as a whole in these respects. 

Registration remains open until midnight on 15th May, at which point we will select the 16 jurors to take part in the citizens’ jury. The random selection will take place with support from our wonderful partners at the Sortition Foundation. The Sortition Foundation is committed to finding ways to make political decisions that ensure the voices of everyday people are heard. They have vast experience in selecting and recruiting broadly representative groups of people to take part in citizens’ juries and citizens’ assemblies and are skilfully guiding us through the process.

Soon after 15th May, we will contact everyone who registered to let them know whether or not they were selected. We’d like to thank everyone who has volunteered their time to take part in the jury, whether or not they are selected. Those who are not may well be invited to take part in other, related, research.

Those who do take part are making a significant time commitment to contribute to the Street Voice project. They will spend two full days and two half days hearing a range of evidence and views on issues related to travelling within the city, how it affects people’s health and the climate, and the problem and benefits that can come with changing how we travel. They will be asked to try to understand each other’s views and experiences, and to reach decisions that people can agree on about how to make Oxford an inclusive, fair and safe place to move around. We hope it will be an interesting and enjoyable way for this group to represent their community and that participants will generate valuable policy recommendations to feed into Oxfordshire County Council’s transport policies.