15 local people have been randomly chosen to be part of Penzance Citizens Panel. The process of random selection was balanced with the need to ensure that the composition of the panel reflected the population profile of Penzance. A full list of speakers has also been lined up.
Panel members were chosen from a random pool of 39 applicants, each with their own unique id number. The pool of applicants was broken down into categories – age, gender, housing tenure, and a random selection conducted on each category. The numbers chosen were weighted to reflect the Penzance Population profile.
For example in Penzance women form 53% of the population and men 47% which means the panel has 8 women and 7 men. And whether male of female, care had to be taken to register what other categories each applicant fell into – home owner, social rented, private rented, and age.
Why is this important? Because we want a diverse sample of panel members rather than a specific group of people who only represent particular interests.
That said, it was decided to over-sample for those living in private rented accommodation at the expense of home-owners. This is because people in the private rented sector are much more vulnerable to homelessness and as this is central to the issues that panel members will address, it was felt important to give them a bigger voice.
Panel sessions will be closed to the public
We have not published the names of panel members. If they wish to identify themselves they are free to do so but we have taken the decision not to divulge names in order to protect them from public pressure and online commentators who attack those who hold opinions different to their own.
Citizens panels operate in a similar fashion to court juries; the aim is to give panel members a safe space to learn about an issue, listen to expert speakers and arrive at a considered public judgement based on evidence. The difference is that the aim is not to blame or judge others but to arrive at a rounded understanding of an issue, along with a set of recommendations.