Everyone is agreed: reforming the structure of government is vital to reviving local communities and economies in the left behind areas of the North. But if it is to flourish, this approach demands the knowing and full-hearted support of the people who will have to make it work, and not just the mayors, politicians and captains of industry.

That’s why Talk Shop is planning a series of mini-conventions across the North designed to give local people a voice in the new arrangements. Our objective is to strengthen the capacity of ordinary people to shape local solutions to tricky issues, working in partnership with local agencies and government. We would like to discuss with you how we might work together to set up and run these events.

Each event will involve around 50 people representing a cross-section of the local population but skewed towards those who rarely take part in public discussions. Taking a full day, the events will introduce the main issues and options for devolution, enabling participants to reach considered conclusions about the best ways forward. This is a format that has emerged from more than 40 events that Talk Shop has organized across England with a variety of partners covering topics such as immigration, Brexit, climate change and inequality.