About us

Meet the Notwestminster gang

The Notwestminster network brings people together to create and share new ideas for doing local democracy. It’s for everyone who has something positive to say about local democracy and for anyone who is up for the challenge of making it better. We aim to turn our discussions around local democracy into some practical tools and techniques that we can all use to make democracy work better for us. Our volunteers organise an annual Notwestminster event each February in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, which is the UK’s default unconference style event for all things local democracy.

Follow us on twitter @Notwestminster or email us at Notwestminster@gmail.com

Carl Whistlecraft

Carl, photo by Anthony McKeown

Carl is an innovator in local democracy, with over 30 years experience of working closely with elected councillors in the fields of policy and governance.. He retired as Head of Democracy at Kirklees Council in 2021. Carl has a passion for local democracy and is fascinated by the opportunities presented by supporting and promoting democracy in a digital age. He is particularly interested in trust, compassion and kindness in democracy, social justice, citizen-led democracy, participation and reciprocity.

Find Carl online at:

Diane Sims

I believe that democracy happens where you are – and you make it happen. I help people to use all kinds of technology to have a voice, listen to others and get things done in their neighbourhoods. My work for Kirklees Democracy involves citizen engagement, digital engagement and young citizens  I’m also a local food grower, heritage campaigner, writer and artist. I believe that, between us, we have everything we need. We’re growing a stronger local democracy, from the ground up.

Find me online at:

Dave Mckenna

Dave Mckenna sq
Dave, photo by Anthony McKeown
I am a researcher, freelance public servant and local democracy geek. I have 20 years local government experience and a PhD in local politics. I am a researcher at the Institute for Local Government Studies looking at how councillors can make a difference to adult social care. I also work with committees and boards to help them make their conversations more constructive. I love to use solution focussed techniques and to learn about the amazing things people are doing to make democracy better.

Find me online at:
Constructive conversations

Please contact us if you have any questions.

3 thoughts on “About us

    My #notwestminster journey | 72 Prufrocks said:
    February 11, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    […] same is true of the project team. We began with me, Carl, David, Spencer Wilson and Aggie Wilstrop, who all work for Kirklees […]


    […] been fortunate enough to be part the #notwestminster Team from the early stages, so to see the resulting Local Democracy for Everyone event come to fruition […]


    It’s Up for Grabs Now! | bundyboy66 said:
    February 16, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    […] part of the fantastic team who coordinated Local Democracy for Everyone – We’re not in Westminster any more in […]


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