On 21 January 2022 we handed over the names of 8 Thanet residents to the Looping the Loop theatre company. These 8 people will serve on Looping the Loop's Community Advisors Panel. This will involve participating in 4 meetings between March and September 2022 to help Looping the Loop in the
development of relevant and exciting new theatre for Thanet 2022.
Sortition Foundation was tasked with recruiting these 8 panel members. Below we briefly describe the details of this recruitment process; the process followed our standard two-stage sortition template in conformity with the OECD's good practice principles for deliberative processes for public decision making.
We randomly selected 1500 addresses from across Thanet. Each of these addresses received a letter in the post inviting residents to sign up as potential members of the advisors panel. We have noticed in past jobs that people who live in more deprived areas tend to be less likely to respond to invitations of this kind, hence the random selection was weighted as follows: 80% of the addresses were chosen from the whole of Thanet; 20% of the addresses were chosen specifically from more deprived areas of Thanet. A map showing the 1000 addresses is here:
The invitation included the following summary card (as well as a letter and FAQ):
Notice that all members of the panel will receive £100 in recognition of the considerable time and energy that the process required of them. Invitations were open for 2 weeks and at the end of this time 17 people had signed up as potential panel members.
As part of the sign-up procedure, all potential participants were required to share some basic information about themselves. We asked them to share their address, their date of birth, their gender, their ethnicity and their occupation.
We then used this information as input into a "sortition algorithm"; this is a process of randomly selecting our 8 panel members from the pool of 17 potential members in such a way that we have a representative sample (so, for instance, the age profile of panel members is broadly similar to the age profile of the Thanet population as a whole). Details of the specific algorithm we use, including information about the fairness of the algorithm, can be found here.
Details of the selection process for this assembly are summarised using the following pie charts, with further information following.
The way to understand these pie charts is as follows:
- Column 1 (Target): These pie charts give information about the regions' population as a whole, using various publicly available statistics (for instance via the ONS). As an example, in the fourth row, you can see that 15.7% of the population in the South East identifies as having a disability.
- Column 2 (Respondents): These pie charts summarise the information that was provided to us by the 17 people who signed up as potential participants. There is some skewing in statistics here compared with our target: for instance, notice that more females than males signed up to participate, as compared to what we might expect in the population.
- Column 3 ( Confirmed Selected): These pie charts summarise information about the 8 people who were finally confirmed to participate in the assembly. Notice that, thanks to our use of a sortition algorithm, the pie charts in this column are similar to the target charts in the first column (although for a small job like this, with only 8 people on the panel, it is difficult to remove all skewing). As part of our recruitment process all of these people were contacted by telephone to confirm that they were still willing and able to participate -- in the event that this was not the case, we used the sortition algorithm to replace people who dropped out with others who shared similar characteristics.