Constituent assembly

$75k or more
estimated cost of external help
  • Prioritise options
  • Confirm options
  • Collaborate
9 weeks or more
estimated run time
9 weeks or more
estimated lead time
Experienced facilitator
recommended experience
Where a country is governed by a constitution, this can usually only be changed through the formation of a constituent assembly. This is typically a group of citizens elected by a predetermined process and who are convened with a set purpose, such as to amend a specific component of the constitution. The constitution itself should outline the procedure to be undertaken to elect a constituent assembly.

A constituent assembly might also be formed to create a constitution where one does not exist but needs to be created. The intention of the assembly is that it represents the interests of the people (constituents) in drafting and determining the output.

In 5 steps...

  1. Determine the item that needs to be addressed by the assembly and document this in detail.
  2. Determine the process by which the constituent assembly will be elected. Arrange any required software or persons who will be required to record the votes of constituents or citizens.
  3. Develop and deliver a communications plan to recruit and elect the assembly. This will likely require a range of media, particularly to target groups that might be able to provide electable candidates, such as schools, local persons of note, and community groups.
  4. Convene the assembly, providing its members with specific instructions, and arranging and providing input to their decision-making process as required.
  5. Communicate the results via the same channels as the original recruitment and election communications.

When to use it

When a constitution needs to be created or amended.


  • Allows for changes to foundational legal and governing principles.
Long term
  • Enables the reform and updating of foundational legal and governing principles over time.


  • Often subject to political or corrupting influences. Have policies and procedures in place to protect against this.
  • A very expensive and lengthy process.
  • May become non-representational if the election process is flawed or key individuals are dissuaded from standing for election.



  • Ensure that your recruitment, election and process plans align with, and adhere to, any rules set out in the original constitution.
  • Allow significant time and resources for the process. Assume there will be unexpected expenses such as additional research required during the assembly’s deliberation.
  • Have a whistleblower policy and procedure in place so that members can raise an alarm if they feel the process has been corrupted by political or other outside pressure.

During the process

  • Monitor the make-up of the assembly. Ensure that a reasonable person would agree that it is representational in its make-up and level of equal contribution to decision-making internally.
  • Be prepared to feed more engagement activities into the assembly’s decision-making process. Participants may require specific data to ensure that they feel they are adequately representing constituent opinion.


  • Communicate the outcomes for, and impacts on, existing rules, laws or procedures that may have taken the prior constitution as their foundation.
  • Establish a timeline to update or correct all the affected existing rules, laws or procedures.