Citizen Assembly South Tyneside (CAST) Logo

Your questions about CAST answered

"Who are CAST?"

We are not professional lobbyists or interested in political power, just ordinary people who want better for our borough.


"What is a Citizens’ Assembly?"

The common definition of a citizens' assembly is a body made up of citizens to deliberate on an issue of local or national importance. People are randomly selected to become part of the Assembly.

Unlike assemblies set up by the state, CAST is unique – we welcome everyone to get involved in shaping local policy, not just a select few. We are an innovative, creative response to the lack of inclusive democracy in the borough. YOU choose to join us. YOU choose the issues. We’re breaking the mould and re-CASTing democracy in South Tyneside!

CAST: Citizens Assembling in South Tyneside - simple!


"Why do we need CAST?"

As residents, we have very little influence in local decision making, it’s time for community-driven, people-powered change.

"What is the point of CAST?"

The purpose of CAST is to provide an independent, inclusive and democratic platform so that the voices of our diverse communities can be heard. Our aim is to empower people with the impartial data they need to make an informed choice and give them the opportunity to put their ideas forward with confidence.

"What does CAST want?"

We simply want those in power to act in line with the wishes of the community they claim to serve and which pays their salaries.


"Why should I join CAST?"

Unity is our strength!

A strong, diverse Assembly will strengthen our community - working together we can attract expert advice and funding. By pooling our skills and knowledge, we can develop programmes and strategies to benefit the whole of our community.


"How much does it cost to join?"


We believe everyone should have the chance to get involved and have their ideas heard, so membership is free - all we ask is that you agree to our aims and constitution. ANYONE who supports our aims is welcome to join!


"So, what is my role in CAST?"

You can be involved as much or as little as you choose to be!

You can be part of or develop your own working group, get involved in the Planning, Strategy or Comms steering groups or simply give us your support - YOU decide how much you want to be involved.


"Is CAST party political?"

In a word, no!

CAST is NOT party political - we warmly welcome and encourage all members who simply support the development of a truly inclusive and representative local DEMOCRATIC system.


"Is CAST politically affiliated?"


We are not associated with ANY political bodies.


"Does CAST have an agenda?"


We are a member-led, democratic assembly. CAST represents YOU and promotes YOUR ideas and alternatives to current local plans and policies.


"Does CAST aim to be a political party?"


A political party is a group of people organised to fight for and then use political power for their own agenda.CAST offers YOU a chance to make YOUR voice heard - we don’t set the agenda, YOU do.


"Does CAST aim to be an alternative to local authority/services?"

Again, no!

The aim of CAST is not to replace anything! We want to attract the independent, professional knowledge needed to inform our communities of the impact of decisions made in our name and let residents make their own, informed decisions!


"How will CAST achieve their aims?"

There are many ways in which we can be successful - here are just a few examples -

  • raising local awareness - door knocking/local surveys and questionnaires to gauge feeling/ opinion
  • gather suggestions and ideas to develop
  • media coverage – Extinction Rebellion has raised awareness and increased public interest significantly
  • coordination of local campaign action – groups supporting each other instead of working in isolation
  • creating petitions – either paper or online can be very effective
  • formal presentations of proposals to the local authority or service


"How does CAST work?"

The best thing about CAST is that it can be whatever we need it to be – the format is organic; it’s defined byYOU! It’s a forum to propose innovative thinking to tackle local problems – by working together we can come up with realistic and achievable solutions.

The working groups focus on issues - their purpose is to look at the issues and generate solutions. The working groups then feed into the β€˜nucleus’ of CAST where the solutions and next steps are agreed. The nucleus is made up of three components - the Planning Group, Comms and Strategy - and oversees the work of the Assembly and it’s working groups. The proposals generated are then presented to relevant body, for example, Council, local service providers, local companies etc.