Participants 2018

Coming to Notwestminster 2018 or following online at #notwestminster ? Here are just some of the people you can hear from, talk to and collaborate with – not only speakers and workshop hosts, but listeners and doers too…

Andreas PavlouAndreas Pavlou
Network Lead, Involve

Andreas is Network Lead at Involve, focusing on open government and, in particular, the coordination of the UK Open Government Network. He believes deeply that increased transparency, better citizen participation and greater accountability are key to improving decision-making in government and the quality of democracy in the UK. Based in Madrid over the last five years, he was able to follow closely the democratising and participatory consequences of the 15M movement on Spanish politics and society, such as the increased demand for democratic renewal and greater citizen engagement in political and social life.

Councillor Peter FlemingCllr Peter Fleming
Leader of Sevenoaks District Council & Deputy Chair of the LGA

Peter in images: a Soulless ginger patch, kid being a pilot, Sevenoaks road sign, Deputy Dawg badge, a chair and the Local Government Association logo

Jenny CroninJenny Cronin
Chair, Unlock Democracy Greater Manchester

I’ve been a supporter of democratic reform campaigns for some years initially through Unlock Democracy. I’m chair of the Greater Manchester group and an elected national Unlock Democracy Council member. Unlock Democracy stands for fair politics, accountable government and citizen engagement. Devolution of English regions along the same lines as Scotland and Wales is a cause I still hang on to, though it is sorely disrupted by the piecemeal devolution deals that parts of the North of England have been inflicted with currently.We network with other local campaigning groups and are among many who support the People’s Plan with its genuinely democratising approach to local devolution.

Vicky SeddonVicky Seddon
Sheffield for Democracy

Vicky coordinates the Sheffield for Democracy campaigning group which promotes improvement in our representative democracy, focussing on both national and local issues. The devolution issue around the Sheffield City Region is one area of concern and agitation. Vicky was Chair of Unlock Democracy for 9 years and was also involved with its predecessor Charter 88. She worked in Student Services at Sheffield Hallam University where she was active in NATFHE the lecturers’ trade union, becoming its national treasurer (a lay position) for seven years. Retired, she now volunteers as an appropriate adult in police stations, supports Amnesty International – and is part of a U3A poetry appreciation group.

Sean PeacockSean Peacock
Open Lab, Newcastle University

Sean is a PhD student in Digital Civics and Urban Planning, based in the Open Lab at Newcastle University. His research interests centre on exploring different ways to involve young people in placemaking, urban planning and civic life through the design and use of digital technologies. Prior to this, he professionally trained as an urban planner and worked in several local government roles in London and his native North East of England. He is interested in collaborating with individuals and organisations who wish to engage young people meaningfully in local civic issues.

Mehrissa SufiMehrissa Sufi

Youth Councillor, Kirklees Youth Council

Mehrissa is an active member of Kirklees Youth Council.

She attends numerous events based on equality and local democracy.

Mehrissa is a high school student who is currently about to sit her GCSE exams in summer.


Jacqui McKinlayJacqui McKinlay

Chief Executive, Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS)

Under Jacqui’s leadership, CfPS is the leading national organisation promoting and supporting excellence in governance and scrutiny. Jacqui oversees their work with a wide range of sectors including local government, national government, health and social care, education, the private sector and housing. Jacqui is a strategy, business planning and governance expert, helping organisations to use insight, planning, governance and scrutiny to become more outcome-focused, effective and efficient.

Cllr Cathy Scott
Kirklees Council

Cathy Scott represents the Dewsbury East ward in Kirklees. She is Cabinet member for Adults and Public Health and was one of the Kirklees Democracy Commissioners. She has championed the work of the Democracy Commission, in particular the Commission’s recommendations about supporting our young citizens and making local democracy easier for citizens to understand by proving bite-sized information.


Councillor Mike JordanCllr Mike Jordan
Selby District Council

Mike was born and raised in Hornsea on the East Coast before attending Huddersfield Polytechnic to study Chemistry. Having qualified he stayed in the town a further 5 years, married, then moved to Castleford working for a new chemical company at Ferrybridge. He later moved to Knottingley near the town hall and switched jobs, working at a Chemical company in Mirfield. Mike retired at 60 in order to help his local community as he had by this time become an experienced Councillor in the Selby area. Mike’s main hobbies are car restoration, motorcycling and cycling itself. He is a member of a local club and Motorcycle Action Group.

Grainne McMahonDr Grainne McMahon
University of Huddersfield

Grainne is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Research in the Social Sciences at the University of Huddersfield, and a member of the Centre for Applied Childhood, Youth and Family Research. She joined the University in October 2009.

Her current research interests are around women, girls and feminism, and young people’s social, cultural and political participation.


Joe MitchellJoe Mitchell
Democracy Club

Joe believes in the power of online participation to make democracy better – hence helping to found Democracy Club. He previously worked at Purpose, one of the world’s leading online organising consultancies, on projects relating to global health and the environment. He also has a range of experience across the public and third sectors, including in marketing and communication for the UK Government, and advocacy and research for NGOs such as Transparency International and Global Witness. Along the way he picked up several degrees in law, development and governance.

Sym RoeSym Roe
Democracy Club

Sym is a developer and has worked in the open / government space for years. He runs Democracy Club, partly by writing code and partly by working with others to build a community of organisations who want to work together.




Miriam LevinMiriam Levin
Head of Community Action and Giving, Office for Civil Society

Miriam has worked in community development throughout her career. Her work has focussed on how people can be involved in shaping the places where they live and take action on the things that matter to them. In her current role, she is running two major programmes – one to train 3,500 more people in Community Organising and the other to support partnerships of citizens, civil society organisations and local authorities to work together to tackle issues through social action. She also has a secret plan to revolutionise democracy from within government. Though this may be a pipe-dream, she is very much looking forward to discussing the possibilities at Notwestminster 2018.

Tim DaviesTim Davies

Open Data Services Co-operative

Tim is a member of Open Data Services Co-operative, and works on Open Contracting across the world. Tim co-maintains the global Open Contracting Data Standard, and supporting governments from Mexico to Moldova to implement systems for publication of structured data on their contracting processes. He is a member of the UK Open Government Civil Society Network steering group, and is passionate about connecting open government policy and local community action. Tim will bring an overview picture of what open contracting is, and how it could be used to address local democratic deficits in the UK. 

Rachel SmithCllr Rachel Smith
Gloucestershire County Council

Rachel splits her time between working as a registered music therapist, and as a county councillor, elected to Gloucestershire County Council in May 2017. Rachel campaigned on transparency in public contracting, and is a member of the authority’s open contracting advisory group – set-up in response to a council motion calling for greater transparency. She has been working to address green issues through procurement. Rachel will bring reflections on the practice, and practical challenges, of securing greater support for open contracting in local government. 


Andy PaiceAndy Paice
Wise Democracy Project and Co-Intelligence Institute

I’m a London based facilitator and convener of participatory spaces. I used to be a Buddhist monk and I have a fascination for the relationship between psychology and politics. Since 2016 I’ve been collaborating with thought leader Tom Atlee of the US based Co-Intelligence Institute and the Wise Democracy Project which I’m representing at Notwestminster 2018. I’m the founder of the Reinventing Democracy YouTube Channel which interviews people from all over the world in the field of democratic innovation. I’m also involved in the UK based Campaign for A Citizen-led Constitutional Convention. 

PerryPerry Walker
Talk Shop & Open Up

Perry is one of the founders of Talk Shop.  We ran events during the EU referendum period which were among the very few that allowed Leavers and Remainers to come together safely to understand and begin to appreciate each other’s positions. In 2017 we are concentrating on a small number of topics: immigration; Brexit; the progressive alliance; and a constitutional convention. Perry runs the Open Up politics website which helps people engage quickly with complex ethical and policy issues. He is also a Fellow of the New Economics Foundation (NEF), a London-based think tank, an associate of Rhizome, a cooperative providing facilitation services and a Fellow of Involve.

Neil McInroyNeil McInroy
Chief Executive, Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES)

Neil is CEO of CLESUK and Europe’s leading independent ‘think and do’ tank, realising progressive economics for people and place. CLES’s aim is to achieve social justice, good local economies and effective public services for everyone, everywhere. CLES collaborates and works with a broad range of local, regional and national governments and agencies across UK, and their work is growing across Europe, Asia, US and Australasia.


Louisa Thomson

Louisa Thomson
Head of Impact and Evaluation, Renaisi

Louisa is responsible for Renaisi’s impact and evaluation work with clients in local and central government, the voluntary sector and health. Louisa was a local councillor for seven years in a London borough, and although currently revelling in the joy of having evenings back, retains a strong interest in local democracy and the changing roles of councillors. She has a PhD from the Open University which focussed on the translation and interpretation of policy agendas in local government. She is also a trustee at Manor House Development Trust – a social enterprise in one of London’s largest regeneration schemes.

Matt ClackMatt Clack
Public Health Manager, Hackney Council

Matt is a Public Health manager, leading programmes to get the rest of the council to consider the health impact of their services. This involves working with council functions like housing and transport, along with other local public services, to tackle health inequality and promote wellbeing. Matt joined local government fresh out of uni way back in 2004, and has spent most of his time in democracy-focused roles. After a few years supporting various committees he joined a scrutiny team, working with councillors to get residents better engaged in decision-making, and to improve the services provided to them. He tried and failed to establish a neighbourhood planning forum for his community, and still has the scars to prove it.

Ed HammondEd Hammond


Centre for Public Scrutiny

Ed leads on the Centre for Public Scrutiny’s work around local accountability. His work has a particular focus on corporate governance within local authorities, but he has also carried out extensive research on policing and community safety, having produced national guidance for the operation of Police and Crime Panels in 2011 and 2012, and research on their first year in operation in 2014. He is currently leading on CfPS’s work on English devolution, alongside work on local authority governance change (including changes to schemes of delegation, rules of procedure and other constitutional amendments), transparency and Freedom of Information, and overview and scrutiny.

Dr Andrew MycockDr Andrew Mycock
Reader in Politics, University of Huddersfield

Andy 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’. He was the independent chair of the Kirklees Democracy Commission.


Michelle Brook

Michelle Brook
Managing Director, The Democratic Society

Michelle has a strong interest in technology, networks, and open data. Her work at The Democratic Societya not-for-profit organisation that works for better democratic systems in which citizens and institutions have the desire, opportunity and confidence to participate together, explores how to ensure better decisions can be made by both governments and citizens, informed by evidence, data, and lived experiences.


Matt StroudMatt Stroud

Matt is a Business Analyst at City of York Council, a business graduate from the University of Wales Bangor, and occasional sketchnoter. After managing York Council’s mobile working estate for a little over 8 years he joined the Business Engagement team as a Technical Project Manager. One of his first projects was collaborating alongside FutureGov and it was like being taught football skills by Lionel Messi. Due to his love of the early, discovery stage of projects he became the user centric Business Analyst he is now. Alongside this, he supervises the postal vote process for each election and has been involved in some capacity with the last ten elections. He is also an organising member of NUX (Northern User Experience).

Sharon DaleSharon Dale
Independent Facilitator and Engagement Lead, Hippo Digital

Sharon specialises in capability building, inclusion and team effectiveness. She has led on an induction and  development programme for public sector Service Owners since January 2014 which has given her a great deal of insight into the challenges faced by teams undertaking transformation in the public sector. More recently she has joined digital service design consultancy Hippo Digital based in Leeds. Sharon is a member of the team who organise the Leeds Govjam events and NUX (Northern User Expereience) and is a serial volunteer for events such as UKgovcamp, Localgovcamp and OneTteam Government. Her main interest is in creating shared understanding and the conditions for people to work well together.

Oldham Youth CouncilOldham Youth Council

Oldham Youth Council are a group of democratically elected young people who represent the young people of Oldham. We have up to 70 members who are aged 11 – 21 and live, go to school or work in Oldham. We are involved in loads of amazing and fun activities that enable us to make a positive difference for young people in Oldham.  We work with loads of different services and organisations to make sure that young people are able to shape and influence decisions that are made that affect our lives.


Tom ChigboTom Chigbo

Tom is a Senior Organiser with Citizens UK, a Community Organising charity that helps local civil society organisations build community relationships and take action for the common good. Over the last 6 years Tom has trained and equipped hundreds of people of a variety of ages, faiths and backgrounds with the skills to take positive social action. In 2014 Tom moved to Leeds to launch Leeds Citizens, an alliance of 30 faith, education and community organisations to campaign on a range of issues including the Living Wage, mental health, public transport and youth opportunities.


Notwestminster 2018