FOI 21-21: Formation of Youth Assembly

Information Standards Freedom of Information Response

Our Ref: FoI 21-21

25 June 2021

Freedom of Information Act 2000

I can confirm that the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission (Assembly Commission) holds information relevant to your request of 28 May 2021.  In your request you asked for the following information:

“I am very excited to read about the Youth Assembly. I would like to know how the youth assembly plans to be inclusive to ensure a range of diverse backgrounds are represented among the members?

I would like to know the process behind this and receive documentation about how you plan to ensure true representation for all.

The demographic of young people is much broader than what is currently represented by the Assembly and that must be reflected somehow in the selection process?”


The method used to select members was one of enhanced random selection. It was co-designed in conjunction with a panel of young people and the Assembly Commission’s Youth Assembly Team. The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland was consulted during the co-design phase. The process was approved by the Youth Assembly Advisory Group, which included a variety of youth organisations and individuals, including young people, before being agreed by the Assembly Commission.

Research was carried out to find out the youth demographic of Northern Ireland in the core age range (13 to 17). Read the 'Updated Statistics on Section 75 Categories for Education Service' research paper.

That information was then used to work out how many members should be selected to ensure that the membership would be fully representative of young people in that age range across a range of categories and also to ensure that members came from all parts of Northern Ireland. The categories, which included all the main Section 75 categories, were:

  • Experience of the care system
  • Racial group
  • LGBTQ+
  • Disability
  • Young Carers
  • Free school meals eligibility
  • Religious belief
  • Male and Female

All the eligible applications received were anonymised and the enhanced random selection process was then conducted using a random number generator.

To ensure geographic spread, three members were randomly selected from each of the 18 Northern Ireland constituencies (56 places in total). A further 36 places were filled, also by random selection, to ensure that the number of members of the Youth Assembly would reflect the youth demographic of the categories listed above.

The outcome of the enhanced random selection process has been successful. All the listed categories have been proportionately filled and five young people have been selected from each constituency, which has ensured fully representative geographic spread.


If you feel that the information we have provided does not meet your request fully, please contact this office as soon as possible.  You have the right to request a formal review by the Assembly Commission and if you wish to do so, please write to me at the above address.

If after such an internal review you are still unhappy with the response, you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF who will undertake an independent review.

The Assembly Commission may publish details of your FOI request and our official response within the organisational disclosure log. The request will be completely anonymised and you will not be identified in any way. This is to meet the requirements as laid out by in the agreed publication scheme with the Information Commissioners’ Office.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above.

Yours sincerely