The deadline for applying to be on the citizens panel is 5pm this Sunday (tomorrow).
So far we have 36 applications from which a 15-member panel will be randomly chosen. We were aiming for a pool of 40 applications so we are nearly there.
Just to repeat what we have already said: we aim to be as fair in the random selection as possible but the randomness has to be balanced to ensure that the panel is roughly representative of the Penzance population.
For example right now, we have too few people in the 20 to 34 age group. To reflect the local population we need a minimum of 3 people (20 percent of the population fall within that age bracket). At the moment if we did a strict random selection, we would likely miss out that age group completely – there just aren’t the numbers. So it is likely that the three people who have already applied will automatically qualify unless we get a sudden spurt of applications by younger people in the next 24 hours.
If this explanation still doesn’t make sense there is a more complete explanation here.
The next step is to anonymise the spreadsheet prior to random selection.
Some time during the week the online spreadsheet will be anonymised (names and email addresses taken out), then segmented into categories e.g. gender, age, housing tenure and a random selection conducted on each category to arrive at a 15 member panel
Finally, towards the end of the week and the beginning of the next, we will start to contact those who have been selected.
One more thing – there is some confusion as to whether panel sessions are open to the public. They are not. The citizens panel will meet in closed session for all five sessions. This is to ensure a safe and relaxed space for panel members to discuss and deliberate on issues without feeling that they are under constant scrutiny by others – which for some, could be quite stressful.