The Sortition Foundation offers bespoke selection and stratification services for your deliberative event. We realise that finding a randomly selected, representative sample of people can be a challenge so we have learnt from the best — and now offer to bring the world's best practice selection process to the UK, Australia and the rest of the world.
We have developed two pieces of open-source software that support our services:
- StratifySelect: this is our core software that performs the random stratified selection, to match specified demographics, from a pool of registrants. The selection is designed to be "as fair as possible" as outlined in this Nature paper, "Fair algorithms for selecting citizens’ assemblies."
- GroupSelect: this software can be used to allocate citizens' assembly participants pseudo-randomly to a set of groups (usually tables) during deliberation, to maximise diversity in each group, and to maximise interactions between people during differing assembly sessions. It also features a range of advanced options such as: unlimited number of possible diversification fields, prioritisation of fields, clustering, and manual allocations.
To find out more about either of these pieces of software please contact us.
We have carried out recruitment, sortition and selection work for a wide variety of different local councils, national parliaments, and other organisations. To get a flavour of the work that we have carried out recently, you can browse our client case studies. Here's what two recent clients had to say about working with us:
Thank you for all your brilliant work recruiting members to our Citizens’ Assembly. It was great to have such professional support for a vital part of the project. (Alan, University College London, organiser of the Citizens' Assembly on Democracy in the UK)
We got a diverse group of people in the room that really represents the local community. The recruitment and selection went very smoothly, and it was very helpful to have the visual materials provided: the maps of the households selected, and the pie charts of the demographics. We would hope to include this approach in future development processes. (Frances, TOWN, organiser of the Cambridge Core Site Ideas Exchange)
Statement of Independence
Our core aim is for these processes to have the highest possible level of legitimacy and therefore a core principle is to maintain independence with regards to the topics and issues addressed in citizens' assemblies and deliberative events. Our focus is on the recruitment and selection process itself, and we use open-source algorithms documented in peer-reviewed journals to perform every stratified random selection, ensuring they are all "as fair as possible." Each selection is not, and cannot be, influenced by the position any organisation takes about any particular issue and our staff and directors are committed to making sure this continues to be the case.