Can civil society organisations offer local government any ideas on citizen engagement?

Ideas from the “Can civil society organisations offer local government any ideas on citizen engagement?” workshop at #notwestminster 2015, hosted by Sarah Allan, with Cllr Tim Cheetham.

Sarah Allan at #notwestminster
Sarah Allan at #notwestminster – photo NotWestminster (11 of 30) by Anthony Mckeown

Workshop challenge

There is a wealth of theory and best practice around how civil society organisations (CSOs) engage the public with political issues, both online and offline. What could these ideas offer to local government as it seeks to engage people with local democracy and its renewal?

The three ideas

Flag created by Juan Pablo Bravo from The Noun Project

  1. Make it easier for groups & individuals to influence councils & be involved in decision-making.
  2. Ways to involve workers and help release their capacity to help improve decision-making.
  3. Toolkit for councillors (& others) in community leadership – covering ways of doing the other two ideas – to help rebuild trust.


Want to join us in working on one or more of these ideas?
You can Leave a Reply at the foot of this page.



Civil society workshop placard






About the workshop hosts

Sarah AllanSarah Allan
Engagement Lead (Democratic Reform)

Sarah leads on democratic reform for Involve – a think-tank and charity which helps people take and influence the decisions that affect their lives. She started her professional life as a researcher looking at the health of democracy (The Power Inquiry). Her extensive experience since then covers research, project management, and local and national campaigning. Most recently she worked in Friends of the Earth’s Campaign Specialists Team for three years, playing a key role in its highly successful Bee Cause campaign. She then spent five months at the Electoral Reform Society, before joining the Involve team in November 2014.

Cllr Tim CheethamCllr Tim Cheetham
Barnsley Council

Born and raised in Barnsley, Tim is in his third term as a councillor for Royston ward on Barnsley MBC. Currently cabinet spokesperson for People (Achieving Potential), he has previously had cabinet responsibility for Children, Young People and Families, Development, Environment and Culture as well as Corporate Services.

Tim also represents local government at a national level having been a member of the LGA improvement and innovation board for some years and is lead member for Data and Transparency working on opening up government and it’s information. He is the member representative on the DCLG Local Public Data panel and for two years chaired the new Local Government Breakthrough Fund Review Panel looking at cutting edge ways in which to open up and use public data.

He regularly speaks on Local Government at national conferences, specialising in innovation, leadership, data and the use of social media. He is a Local Government Researcher at De Montfort University and presented his own academic research paper on Leadership in times of Austerity at the Political Studies Association annual conference last year. Tim is also using his background in research as a member of the Knowledge Navigator for Local Government Steering Group tasked with getting the best for the sector out of the research projects of the future.


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