Workshops

The disconnect between democracy and services

Posted on

 Brainstorm by Jessica Lock from The Noun ProjectWorkshop idea by Phil Rumens


All of the workshops at Local Democracy for Everyone have been created by our participants. We’re sharing a summary of each workshop idea to help you decide what you’d most like to participate in – and so that everyone can start to share their comments about each idea.


The disconnect between democracy and services

The challenge:

How might we re-engage the democratic process with the delivery of council services?

Listening to public opinion, I’m increasingly hearing the perception of a disconnect between service delivery and the democratic process. In short, some citizens no longer see or perhaps understand that their votes or other participation in the democratic process allows them to have a say on which (and how) services are delivered to them.

It’s important to me, as in my view democracy if not linked to something tangible like service delivery becomes an abstract concept and as such, citizens may question the need for its very existence.

I don’t have the answers, but I’m hoping collectively that we may be able to start to find a solution.


#notwestminster #services


Phil RumensPhil Rumens
@philrumens
Web Development Manager
West Berkshire Council

With a background in creating digital services and online engagement, Phil manages the Digital Services Team at West Berkshire Council. He has a keen interest in democracy and has been involved in local government elections since 2003.

Phil is also Vice-Chair of the LocalGov Digital Steering Group, a national organisation for digital practitioners working in Local Government. He leads the Makers design and development strand of LocalGov Digital which includes the Pipeline platform, a “Kick Starter” for innovation and collaboration in Local Government.

LG/WWW – Phil’s blog

Digital democracy: A panacea for youth disengagement?

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 Brainstorm by Jessica Lock from The Noun ProjectWorkshop idea by Dr Andrew Mycock and Simon Campbell-Skelling


All of the workshops at Local Democracy for Everyone have been created by our participants. We’re sharing a summary of each workshop idea to help you decide what you’d most like to participate in – and so that everyone can start to share their comments about each idea.


Digital democracy: A Panacea for youth disengagement?

The challenge:

Research suggests that younger citizens are less engaged in traditional forms of politics than previous generations. Only 44% of 18 to 24 year olds voted in 2010 UK General Election and there has been a marked decline in numbers of young people joining political parties. Young citizens claim they feel excluded from politics, do not trust politicians or understand the language they use, and have a residual sense of powerlessness. This disconnection is particularly acute in local forms of democracy.

There is a growing belief that ‘digital democracy’ has the potential to reverse this trend. 90% of all 16 to 24 year olds connected via the internet (Ofcom 2012). Politicians and others who are interested in our democracy increasingly view the internet and social media as having the potential to encourage and promote democratic engagement and participation amongst young people. Technology could also play a key role in developing political knowledge and understanding.

The workshop will explore what digital democracy is and how it can develop the role of young people in local and national forms of politics. It will draw on evidence from the recent My Country, My Vote project involving local schools in Kirklees, the participation of Kirklees Youth Council in the recent UK parliament commission on digital democracy, and other available youth citizenship research. It aims to encourage participants to consider the potential of digital democracy to:

  1. Enrich the representation of young citizens.
  2. Enhance youth-orientated policy-making.
  3. Empower young citizens to scrutinise (local) government.
  4. Enable new forms of youth citizen engagement.
  5. Encourage citizen dialogue.

#notwestminster #youth


Dr Andrew MycockDr Andrew Mycock
Reader in Politics
University of Huddersfield

Dr Andrew Mycock is Reader in Politics at the University of Huddersfield. His research interests focus on issues of youth citizenship and democratic participation. He served on the UK government’s Youth Citizenship Commission from 2008 to 2009. He recently contributed to the UK Parliament Digital Democracy Commission project, ‘Hardcopy or #Hashtag: Young people’s vision for a digital parliament’.

 


Simon Campbell-Skelling
Community Heritage and Education Officer

Simon Campbell-Skelling works for Kirklees Council’s Community Heritage and Outreach Team. He is currently working on My Country My Vote. This is a partnership project between the council and the University of Huddersfield which seeks to encourage greater, and more positive, political engagement amongst young people.

Ballot for Bondi Beach

Posted on

 Brainstorm by Jessica Lock from The Noun ProjectWorkshop idea by Rashid Mhar

All of the workshops at Local Democracy for Everyone have been created by our participants. We’re sharing a summary of each workshop idea to help you decide what you’d most like to participate in – and so that everyone can start to share their comments about each idea.


Ballot for Bondi Beach

The challenge:

Using only the resources that you can find amongst your neighbours, your own initiative and the co-operation of some trusted neighbours… What strategy could you find to return a council to local democracy, with no help from the authorities? 

The case study used for this exercise will be based on the untold real life story of the citizen led transformation of Waverley Council in Sydney, home to the world famous Bondi Beach.

In the 1980s, a group of locals decided to challenge the group in control of the council. They formed a Community Action Group where none existed, started getting things fixed that were ignored. They used their local knowledge to get to grips with the issues the locals faced, changed canvassing to conversation that was about getting to know people and what they wanted done.

From a standing start they were driven by curiosity. Democracy, they decided, wasn’t just about voting, it was about knowing what needs to be done, how to get it done, how listening formed the start point of getting heard, how doing was better than talking and how in they end they didn’t hope for votes, they knew on election day the big parties were in for a surprise. 

We will be offering a workshop where you will take the role of the locals of Waverley. You’ll get your context information from Joe Taylor, who was an active part of the events, and you will develop ideas that could form the basis of plans that the locals used to transform the relationship between the people and local government. At the end of the workshop we’ll evaluate those ideas using knowledge and experience of the actual events.


#notwestminster #activism


Rashid Mhar
Local activist and democratic campaigner

Rashid Mhar is a local organiser for 38 Degrees Manchester, Planner and Facilitator for Manchester Assembly for Democracy, NatCAN Administrator and local activist and democratic campaigner. Follows a strict principle of independent political thinking and radical challenge to systems that exhibit a tendency to stay the same. From a perspective informed by environmental consciousness and humanism he advocates for the restoration of evolution to the heart of the democratic process. In a line; the people should raise the issues, participate in proposing the answers, decide which to try and see and take responsibility for the results and when fitting change their minds and try again.

In the past he worked in programmes for the long term unemployed, development of vocational training and qualifications, key skills and basic skills support for Manchester College of Arts and Technology. Also was involved in early days of Internet evangelism and Redbricks wired network for Hulme Estate.

He would rather spend his time learning and walking the great history and heritage of the North West, study science and nature and sit quietly in Whitworth Art Gallery but accepts that democracy should not be an opt in or opt out affair but a state of conciousness that you express by doing rather than believing in.


Joe Taylor
@NationalCAN

Community developer and organiser

Joe Taylor is a community developer and organiser. He spent many years of his life on itinerant travels working his way across the world which led him to spend the Thatcher years in New South Wales. Upon his return to Wigan he was shocked by how much he had missed and the changes wrought during that period. Moved by the effects on the people of those changes he committed his efforts to doing work to support the community. He divides his time and determined effort between NatCAN, Greenslate Community Farm, 38 Degrees Manchester, Positive Money, Assemblies for Democracy and Manchester Assembly for Democracy amongst many others.

Starting his ‘second youth’, Joe likes to offer to his help and vast experience to anyone trying to do something. With blunt manner and dry humour of a son Wigan that hides the experience of years of journeys across the world, people who get to know him inevitably realise he is a surprise package.

Participatory Budgeting

Posted on

 Brainstorm by Jessica Lock from The Noun ProjectWorkshop idea by Alan Budge


All of the workshops at Local Democracy for Everyone have been created by our participants. We’re sharing a summary of each workshop idea to help you decide what you’d most like to participate in – and so that everyone can start to share their comments about each idea.


Participatory Budgeting

The challenge:

How can Participatory Budgeting – where people vote directly on the allocation of resources in their communities – contribute to addressing  the current ‘democratic deficit’?

This interactive workshop offers the opportunity to explore the basic theory and practice of Participatory Budgeting. It will include a short introduction to Participatory Budgeting, then offer participants the opportunity to work together to consider the benefits and challenges of Participatory Budgeting as a means of resource allocation, and community empowerment.

In my experience, Participatory Budgeting gives residents a sense of genuine influence in their communities, as well as having the potential to re-fashion relationships between communities, officers and elected members.


#notwestminster #PB


Alan Budge
PB Partners

Alan has worked with PB Partners (and its predecessor, the PB Unit) supporting UK-wide Participatory Budgeting initiatives for over 10 years. PB Partners are currently working with Greater Manchester Police, rolling out Participatory Budgeting in areas vulnerable to organised crime activity, as well as supporting a Scottish Government-sponsored Participatory Budgeting Initiative across Scotland. 

Previously, Alan worked as a Neighbourhood Partnership Manager for Bradford Vision, a Local Strategic Partnership (LSP). He played a key role in the development of their pioneering participatory grant-making programme, responsible for the allocation of over  £1m of Neighbourhood Renewal funds.

The Council of 2045

Posted on Updated on

 Brainstorm by Jessica Lock from The Noun ProjectWorkshop idea by Andrew Walker & colleagues


All of the workshops at Local Democracy for Everyone have been created by our participants. We’re sharing a summary of each workshop idea to help you decide what you’d most like to participate in – and so that everyone can start to share their comments about each idea.


The Council of 2045

The challenge:

Building strong communities who support and are supported by their local council requires cooperation, trust, empathy and the willingness to share power.

Imagine that in 2045 local government has been entirely cut off from Westminster. Councils no longer draw their powers or finance from central government. Instead they must focus on developing and sharing power with their own citizens.

In this workshop we will explore ways for diverse groups, with conflicting interests, to cooperate so that they can make important decisions and find ways to deepen democratic participation.

Fully participative decision making is complex and challenging. The aim of ‘The Council of 2045’ is to deepen our understanding of the decision making process.


#notwestminster #2045


Andrew Walker
Andrew Walker
@LGiU
Policy Researcher, Local Government Information Unit

Andrew Walker runs LGiU’s policy projects on innovation in local democracy, housing, and community management of public space.
His recent work includes Public Houses, an investigation in how local authorities can protect community pubs, Strong Foundations, which looks at the changing relationship between social landlords and their tenants, and House Proud, an analysis of local authority involvement with the Private Rented Sector.

Experimenting with participation: lean startup approach

Posted on

 Brainstorm by Jessica Lock from The Noun ProjectWorkshop idea by Peter Lewis


All of the workshops at Local Democracy for Everyone have been created by our participants. We’re sharing a summary of each workshop idea to help you decide what you’d most like to participate in – and so that everyone can start to share their comments about each idea.


Experimenting with participation: lean startup approach

The challenge:

It’s easy to have lots of ideas about how to increase participation in decisions affecting local topics, but how do you know which ideas are good ones? I founded voXup during the final year of my PhD as an idea about what would motivate people to take part in local decision making – specifically, is a nice feedback loop a good enough incentive? I’ll share this experience as an example.


#notwestminster #startup


Peter LewisPeter Lewis
@realPeterLewis & @voXupUK
voXup.co.uk

Peter started thinking about participation in local democracy when he should have been concentrating on his PhD in theoretical physics, in late 2013. When thinking alone seemed to be insufficient to effect any real change, he went to a local pub with an idea about how to create feedback loops between the people who live in a place and those who take decisions affecting it. This idea – now voXup.co.uk – won places on the Bethnal Green Ventures accelerator (a Cabinet Office and Nesta backed ‘tech for good’ accelerator in London) and Google’s first European startup ‘Launchpad’ week, and has now completed thousands of feedback loops encouraging easy, habitual participation in London and beyond.


Democratic Content – Local By Default, Engaging By Design

Posted on

 Brainstorm by Jessica Lock from The Noun ProjectWorkshop idea by Carl Whistlecraft and James McLaughlin


All of the workshops at Local Democracy for Everyone have been created by our participants. We’re sharing a summary of each workshop idea to help you decide what you’d most like to participate in – and so that everyone can start to share their comments about each idea.


Democratic Content – Local By Default, Engaging By Design

The challenge:

Voter turnout in the last local government elections was 36%.  Does the information (and opportunities to engage) provided by councils, candidates, political parties and organisations contribute to this situation?  How can we redesign democratic and electoral content to stimulate interest, understanding and engagement?

The purpose of the session is to identify opportunities to improve access to and interest in democratic content during the run-in to a local election. What are the current barriers stopping people from finding things out? What do electors want to know? Should councils, candidates, political parties and local media continue to work in isolation or can a solution be achieved through a local democracy platform supported by all?

We’re looking for good ideas and examples of existing practice to take away for the impending elections in May.


#notwestminster #content


Carl WhistlecraftCarl Whistlecraft
@Gr8governance
Head of Governance and Democratic Services, Kirklees Council

Carl is Head of Governance and Democratic Services at Kirklees Council, with 25 years’ experience of working closely with elected councillors in the fields of policy and governance. He has a passion for local democracy and is fascinated by the opportunities presented by supporting and promoting democracy in a digital age.

Carl is currently co-lead of the Rewiring Local Democracy (RLD) work stream as part of the LocalGov Digital Programme.

Rewiring Local Democracy

Carl’s blog


James McLaughlinJames McLaughlin
@jj_mclaughlin
Electoral Services Manager
East Northamptonshire Council

James is currently Democratic and Electoral Services Manager at East Northamptonshire Council and has worked within the Democratic Services sector for twelve years. Having worked under various governance models at four English local authorities, he has a keen interest in the impact of decision-making models in levels of public engagement and participation in elections. Recognising the potential of new technology and media, he is keen to promote new ways of engaging in the democratic process at a local level.