SCOTLAND’S first Citizens’ Assembly lacked clarity, often frustrated its participants and produced many ideas unlikely to be delivered, according to official research into the £1.4million project.

A Scottish Government-led study also found the Assembly failed to register with the public, whose understanding of it was “low throughout” its 18-month duration.

The exercised produced 60 recommendations last year after 100 citizens making up a “mini-Scotland” debated the country’s long term issues.

It called for Holyrood to have more powers over immigration, employment and tax, including hiking taxes on wealthy individuals and large corporations.

It also called for more power to the people, including a “house of citizens”, an unelected second chamber, to scrutinise Scottish ministers and Holyrood business.

The Scottish Government, which set up and funded the assembly, hailed it as a success and said such assemblies were “here to stay”.

However the 110-page report into how the body was run and seen by its members paints a mixed picture and urges changes in future.

The research found the majority of members found participating in the regular forum “hugely rewarding”, felt “included and empowered”, and emerged keener on politics and civic activities.

But there were also “challenges”, with some members sometimes finding the “volume and breadth of knowledge” difficult to absorb.

Most members also felt “a lack of clarity over respective roles and decision making”, with several expressing “frustration and in a couple of cases anger at this lack of clarity”.

The “breadth of the remit” was a “key challenge” that hampered the Assembly, including finding expert speakers, deliberation, governance, and public perception.

The Assembly was based on an Irish version that debated abortion and other specific issues outside the normal political process, leading to changes in the law.

However the Scottish version looked at three broad topics: the kind of country we should be, overcoming challenges including Brexit, and giving people the information they need to make informed choices about Scotland’s future.

According to the research, it led to the Assembly producing “broad and wide-ranging recommendations which may be difficult to transfer into policy”.

The sprawling nature of the exercise also made it harder to attract media coverage.

“Public awareness, understanding and engagement of the Assembly were low throughout its duration.”

A move online because of the Covid pandemic, after initial weekend meetings, made the work of the assembly harder.

The report recommended a tighter remit; clearer roles and responsibilities; more time for the inception, delivery and impact phases of the assembly; a clear mandate on how the assembly interacts with political decision-making and the public; and training members to help them get more out of the process; and improved research to improve the assembly.