Lightning talks 2019

Notwestminster 2019We’re asking some of our Notwestminster 2019 participants to give a very short Lightning talk on the day. These quick-fire talks are aimed at getting us all thinking about the context for our work together. 

You can watch live webcasts of the talks from 10am and 2pm on Saturday 16th February 2019, or see the presentations and watch the videos here later.

We also organise Notwestminster PechaKucha Nights of rapid talks. If you fancy being a speaker on the evening of Friday 15th February 2019, you can find out more here: Speak up for local democracy

Join our network to be the first to hear about other opportunities to get involved.

I liked Citizens’ Assemblies before it was cool

Tim HughesTim Hughes
Director, Involve

Tim is the director of Involve, the UK’s leading public participation charity. He is a leading advocate and practitioner of participatory and deliberative democracy. Tim has advised national, devolved and local governments in the UK on designing and facilitating effective participatory processes. He has overseen and co-lead facilitated large deliberative processes, including the Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit, Citizens’ Assembly on Social Care and Citizens’ Assembly for Northern Ireland. And he has worked with multilateral organisations – including the OECD, Council of Europe and Open Government Partnership – to improve the practice of participation and open government globally.


From referrals to relationships, developing Auntie Pam’s

Rachel Spencer-Henshall

Rachel Spencer-Henshall

Director for Public Health, Corporate Strategy and Commissioning, Kirklees Council

Rachel has been the Director for Public Health in Kirklees since April 2015. She leads a team of public health staff who passionately care about improving health and reducing inequalities working with people not doing to them. In January 2019 she was successfully appointed Strategic Director for Corporate Strategy and Commissioning in addition to her Public Health role. She hopes to use this additional responsibility to embed health and wellbeing in all policies, as well as ensuring Kirklees is an intelligence led Council. In her spare time she enjoys walking and cooking, as well as being a first time mum to her little boy called Leo.

This is The #CitizenShift

Jon will talk about how it’s not just in local government in the UK that a new story is brewing, as exemplified in Notwestminster, but across the world and in every aspect of society.

Jon Alexander

Jon Alexander
New Citizenship Project

Jon Alexander is Co-Founder of the New Citizenship Project, a consultancy founded as a way to bring the skills of the creative industries to bear on inspiring people to claim their agency in society as citizens, instead of just selling stuff to people as consumers. Part thinktank, part consultancy, and still in its early years, the New Citizenship Project has worked with organisations from The Guardian to Coop Group to the National Trust – and is increasingly working with local government.


Intervention to Restoration – The Rotherham Story

Rotherham Council has been subject to the most wide ranging intervention in English local government history, after the child sexual exploitation scandal. Rebuilding trust in local democracy and elected representatives has been a key area of work, but what can local democracy learn from this story?

James McLaughlin

James McLaughlin
Head of Democratic Services, Rotherham Council

James has been Head of Democratic Services at Rotherham MBC for the past three years and is also the regional representative for Yorkshire &  Humberside and the North East on the Board of the Association of Democratic Services Officers. James has been navigating local democracy for the best part of twenty years already, across a number of councils, so remember to purchase his explosive memoirs when he reaches retirement age in 2048!



Why should young people be interested in local democracy?

Evie will share some of her experiences of getting involved in local democracy, including her current work as a Young Commissioner for the Growing a stronger youth council project in Kirklees.

EvieEvie Whittingham
Kirklees Youth Councillor & Young Commissioner

Being a Youth Councillor has completely changed my perspective of the world. I have found an interest in democracy and politics that I never knew I had, developed my social skills, planning skills and confidence, as well as showing me that I can have a say in what happens in my local area. I have become a young commissioner to make sure that young people in Kirklees continue to have the same amazing opportunity that I have had, to spread what I have learnt in my time as a youth councillor and to further develop the skills and knowledge that being a member of Kirklees Youth Council has taught me.


What would it take to make a list of all representatives in the UK?

Democracy Club think that access to good information is vital to a well functioning democracy. Providing accessible information on all our representatives is a good step in the right direction. But what would it take?

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. Democracy Club don’t have a view of ‘the perfect democracy’. Instead, they try to make constant iterative improvements based on citizens’ needs. Democracy Club create the tools to aggregate data for democracy and make it available to everyone. They also build apps to answer direct questions from voters, such as:
Who can I vote for?‘ and ‘Where do I vote?


Using the values of citizens to (re)shape local economies

Claire’s talk will be on how local government can use the values of its citizens to (re)shape local economies.

Claire Spencer

Claire Spencer
Senior Policy Adviser, West Midlands Combined Authority

Claire is a committed localist who combines a passion for empowering communities of place and interest to make change with a commitment to the power of collaborative endeavour. She is currently working with the West Midlands Combined Authority as a senior policy adviser, focusing on shaping and delivering the region’s burgeoning inclusive growth agenda. She has worked across the public, private and third sectors, and has also held public office as a councillor in Birmingham.



Notwestminster 2019