digital democracy

What we’ll be working on at our Local Democracy Maker Day #LDMaker16

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Local Democracy Maker Day

Local Democracy Maker Day
Friday 12th February 2016
The Media Centre, 7 Northumberland Street, Huddersfield HD1 1RL

Eventbrite - Local Democracy Maker Day 2016
 

What is a Maker Day?

Our Maker Days are a chance to collaborate with others who care about local democracy on issues that we choose together. Our focus at this Maker Day will be on responding to some of our Design Challenges for Local Democracy.

We want to turn our discussions around local democracy and digital into some practical tools that we can all use to make democracy work better for us – and we hope you’ll be part of it. You don’t need any previous experience to join in – we’ll be learning from each other as we go along.

We’ve chosen three challenges for us to focus on during the day, based on things that participants of the Notwestminster network have shown keen interest in recently.


Our three Local Democracy Design Challenges are:

  • Social Decision Making: Councils make many important decisions yet the people who are affected rarely have their say. How can we get people involved in local policy making so that they can influence the decisions that affect them? 
  • Real Representation: The job of the local councillor is to represent their constituents yet their wards can include as many as 25,000 people, all different, all special. How can councillors better reach out to people in their community so that everyone can be properly represented? 
  • Digestible Democracy:  Local democracy needs to involve the widest range of people and yet the format of reports and the use of jargon puts off all but the most dedicated. How can we present local decision making so it’s less obscure like modern jazz, and more popular, like rock and roll?

Who is it for?

  • Digital makers
  • Open data advocates
  • Local government officers
  • Councillors and candidates
  • Community activists
  • Hyperlocals
  • Voters of today and tomorrow

Want to join in?

Free tickets are available now:

Eventbrite - Local Democracy Maker Day 2016


Other event info

Taking part at the venue or online? Here’s some other information you might find useful:


We are…

We are Local Democracy Bytes and the wider #notwestminster gang. Our Maker Day is part of our collaboration with LocalGov Digital Makers. It’s about turning our discussions around local democracy and digital into some practical tools that we can all use to make democracy work better for us.


With thanks to our sponsors

Our Maker Day is part of Notwestminster 2016, two days of rock n roll local democracy kindly sponsored by:
the-media-centre

Supported by UKGovcamp

UK Open Government Civil Society Network

LocalGov Digital

Democracy Club logo

Delib logo

Modern Mindset

ADSO

Help us to pick our next Maker Day challenges

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Local Democracy Maker Day

We’ll be announcing the three challenges for our next Local Democracy Maker Day this week. If you’ve signed up to take part, you’ll already have received our shortlist. If you haven’t signed up yet, the event is in Huddersfield on Friday 12th February and you can book free tickets for our Maker Day now.

We want to make sure that everyone who is interested gets a chance to help pick the challenges that we’ll be working on together. Here’s our suggested shortlist, based on what participants have told us so far. Please let us know if you have any comments or other ideas.

5 challenges to choose from

  • Social Decision Making: Councils make many important decisions yet the people who are affected rarely have their say.  How can we get people involved in local policy making so that they can influence the decisions that affect them? 
    [we received several workshop pitches for Notwestminster 2016 about this topic, so we know that some of our participants are really interested – but does it appeal to you?]
  • Real Representation: The job of the local councillor is to represent their constituents yet their wards can include as many as 25,000 people, all different, all special.  How can councillors better reach out to people in their community so that everyone can be properly represented? 
    [we’re delighted to have several councillors participating again this time – is this a good opportunity for us to work on this challenge together?]
  • Digestible Democracy:  Local democracy needs to involve the widest range of people and yet the format of reports and the use of jargon puts off all but the most dedicated.  How can we present local decision making so it’s less obscure like modern jazz, and more popular, like rock and roll?
    [we’ve worked on this challenge at a previous Maker Day, and some participants want to have another go at it, as there are many small things we could do to help – do you agree?]
  • Connected Candidates: High turnouts in local elections are a mark of a healthy democracy and yet many people have no motivation to participate.  How can we get people connected to their candidates so that they will see a reason to vote?
    [Democracy Club are already doing some great work to crowdsource local election candidates for 2016 – are you interested in sharing elections data or talking about what else is possible?]
  • Young People: The young people of today are the voters of tomorrow and yet many see local politics as irrelevant.  How can we get young people involved in local democracy so they have a voice, both now and in the future? 
    [this is really important to many of us. We have some amazing young participants at our main Notwestminster event, but we don’t currently have any young people signed up to our Maker Day – and we can’t work on this challenge without input from young people. Shall we save this for another day, or should we try to involve more young people on Friday 12th February?]

 

Comments?

Please try to let us know by 12 noon on Tuesday 26th January 2016.

You can leave a reply on this page, email us at notwestminster@gmail.com or tweet us @LDBytes.

Please tell us about:

  • Challenges that you’re interested in.
  • Anything not listed here that you’d like us to work on.
  • Anything else you’d like to say about the Maker Day.

All comments and suggestions welcome. 

This is just to help us pick the right challenges for our network. If you’re going to be here on the day, you can join any group (or more than one group) to work on whatever takes your fancy. You can also follow online during the event.

 

How Notwestminster workshops are helping us do democracy differently

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User stories workshop
User Stories workshop at #notwestminster – photo NotWestminster (4 of 30) by Anthony Mckeown

 

Notwestminster workshops are a really useful way of debating local democracy issues, generating ideas and making practical changes to the way we do democracy. Our focus is on turning our discussions into action, so from each workshop we’re asking participants to come up with one practical suggestion that we can act on between us. 

In 2015 our participants hosted workshops about elections content, public values, open data, youth engagement, the lean startup approach, what councils might look like in the future… and lots more. We’re looking for 2016 workshop ideas now, and we have a series of Design Challenges for Local Democracy to help get you started. If you’re interested in running a workshop, you can pitch a workshop idea now.

Perhaps the most important way that our workshops have helped our participants is by creating connections between people who have an enthusiasm for local democracy. Here are three examples from some of our 2015 workshop hosts, showing how Notwestminster can help us to work together to do local democracy differently…


1. User stories

At Notwestminster 2015 Dave Mckenna collected lots of local democracy user stories. We gave out cards and encouraged people to drop their user stories into our ballot box throughout the day, then we sorted through all the cards in the closing workshop and talked about each one in turn. It was an excellent discussion and very revealing about the things that our participants find most frustrating as users of local democracy. The user story which got the biggest reaction was this:

“As a local resident

I need to see council reports in a form I can easily digest

so I can understand the decisions that are being made”

We continued the discussion online and soon came up with a few ideas:
Four ways to make council reports more digestible

City and County of Swansea quickly introduced summaries for all of their scrutiny publications in Swansea as a direct result of this workshop.

[Dave Mckenna hosted our 2015 workshop User Stories for Local Democracy]


2. Open Government

“At Notwestminster we discussed ideas for making government more transparent, engaging and accountable. Since, we have crowdsourced an Open Government Manifesto to collect the best open government ideas from citizens and civil society across the UK, In total, 79 ideas were collected through a series of workshops and an online platform, which were developed and condensed into 28 proposals. These include two related to local government, to “Establish an Open Local Government Partnership” and “Include local governance and engagement frameworks as part of devolution deals“. The 28 proposals in the manifesto are now being discussed with government for possible inclusion in the UK’s new Open Government Partnership National Action Plan. You can get involved in this by joining the Open Government Network via the Open Government Forum.”

[Tim Hughes hosted our 2015 workshop Open Local Government: How can it be spread?]


3. Regional Democracy

One of the main outcomes of the workshop for me was an insight into the importance of language, and how it’s used to frame events that generate positive energy. Before the workshop I’d assumed that the momentum of the Scottish independence referendum meant that any conversation about devolution would inherit the same energy, but the Notwestminster event, along with other events at which I was in the audience, has led me to think “devolution” has technocratic feel that often drains the initial anger and frustration that people bring into the conversation. I don’t think this is just a question of language, but the word devolution doesn’t help.  

“I was already an active regional democracy campaigner before the workshop, and so I have continued to do the same things, but whenever I’m in a committed conversation about how to make great places to live and work in part of England’s north, I ask people to question the associations of the word devolution, and to consider the term “regional democracy” as an alternative. This suggestion has usually had a positive response, and I was one of the co-organisers of the What Kind of Region? event in Bradford, in which we tried to consistently use regional democracy rather than devolution:

Will the future of our region be about all of us?

[Andrew Wilson hosted our 2015 workshop Doing devolution without permission]


Your Notwestminster 2016 workshop ideas

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Share your workshop ideas
Together we’ve identified a series of Design Challenges for Local Democracy and we’re looking for practical ideas in response to these. Want to help shape our conversations?


We’d love to hear from anyone who would like to run a 50 minute workshop with a distinctly democratic flavour in Huddersfield on Saturday 13th February 2016. Your workshop should relate to one of our design challenges. Some examples are:

  • Young people – How can we get young people involved in local democracy?
  • Access to decision makers – How can we encourage real contact between those making the decisions and those affected by them?
  • Voter information – How can we make sure voters in the local elections get the facts and figures they need?
  • Digestible democracy – How can we make it less obscure like jazz, more popular like rock n roll?
  • Open data – How can we better share the data of local democracy?
  • Community News & Campaigns – How can we connect enthusiasts and help citizens to tell the story?

Please have a look at our full list and catch up with the story so far:

Design Challenges for Local Democracy

What we did at our Local Democracy Maker Day #LDMaker15

 

What are we looking for?

Workshops can be in any format you choose, from open discussions to practical creative sessions. Talk about something, build something or dismantle something.

If your proposal is accepted, your responsibility is to frame the challenge in a way that’s easy for a wide range of participants to understand and get involved in, then together work out one practical thing we could do to meet the challenge.

But the workshop is not a teaching session – your introduction should last no more than 10 minutes. After that, your role is to bring out the best from the group.

The outcome of your workshop should be one practical suggestion for redesigning local democracy – and the names of anyone in the room who is willing to help make it happen. We’ll give you an ideas sheet (both on paper and online) to record this on.

The final session of the day will be an informal ideas bazaar where you can have a drink, take a look at all the practical ideas from the day and do a spot of plotting.

Interested?
Please 
share your idea for a Notwestminster workshop.

Democracy Cinderella, you shall go to LocalGovCamp

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Look out for our “Democracy Cinderella” session at LocalGovCamp:

How are we going to redesign local democracy?

 
The #Notwestminster gang are made up to be collaborating with LocalGov Camp this week.  It has been brilliant for us to take some of the Design Challenges that emerged from our event in February into the Local Democracy Maker Day. We’re hoping that we can build some great stuff to help us do local democracy better. 

We also want to take the local democracy theme into Saturday’s LocalGovCamp 2015 unconference. So we intend to pitch a session inspired by a great blog post from a fully paid up member of the gang, Dave Mckenna. In his post, Dave explains that something often gets left behind in our rush to transform services – and that thing is democracy. He describes how (and why) we are “looking for ways to bring local democracy redesign work out of the shadows; to bring democracy Cinderella to the service redesign ball.”

If you haven’t seen this already, it’s well worth a read:
 
Redesign local democracy, not just services
 
We want to take some of these ideas into LocalGov Camp to stimulate thinking and discussion. So, whilst Dave can’t be there in person (you’ll be missed), we want to tap into the finest minds in the sector to explore how we might redesign local democracy.

If all goes well, perhaps we can start on another journey that ends at #Notwestminster in February 2016. Come and join us on Saturday to talk about redesigning local democracy.

It’ll be great.

What we’ll be working on at our Local Democracy Maker Day #LDMaker15

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Local Democracy Maker Day, 11th September 2015

Local Democracy Maker Day
Friday 11th September 2015
The Studio, Riverside West, Leeds LS1 4AW

 

What is a Maker Day?

Our Maker Day is a chance to collaborate with others who care about democracy on issues that we choose together. Our focus at the Maker Day will be on sharing ideas for the 2016 local elections and trying some things out using elections data.

We’ve chosen three challenges for us to focus on during the day, based on responses to our Design Challenges survey and things that our participants have shown keen interest in over the past few months.
 

Our three Local Democracy Design Challenges are:

  • Access to Decision Makers:   People want greater access to decision makers and yet to many the local decision making process seems remote and impersonal.  How can we encourage real contact between those making the decisions and those affected by them?
  • Voter Information: If democracy is to work then voters need to be properly informed about their candidates and yet much of what they receive is biased and sometimes even inaccurate.  How can we ensure that voters in local elections get the facts and figures that they need to make an informed choice?
  • Digestible Democracy:  Local democracy needs to involve the widest range of people and yet the format of reports and the use of jargon puts off all but the most dedicated.  How can we present local decision making so it’s less obscure like modern jazz, and more popular, like rock and roll?

 

Other event info

Taking part at the venue or online? Here’s some other information you might find useful:

 

We are…

We are Local Democracy Bytes and the wider #notwestminster gang. Our Maker Day is part of a new collaboration with LocalGov Digital Makers and Democracy Club. It’s about turning our discussions around local democracy and digital into some practical tools that we can all use to make democracy work better for us.
 

Want to join in?

Book now for Local Democracy Maker Day

Local Democracy Maker Day – Friday 11th September 2015

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Local Democracy Maker Day, 11th September 2015

Local Democracy Maker Day
Friday 11th September 2015
The Studio, Riverside West, Leeds LS1 4AW

Book now for Local Democracy Maker Day

 

 

About us

We believe in bringing together people who have an interest in local democracy – and who are up for the challenge of making it work better for all of us.

We are Local Democracy Bytes and the wider #notwestminster gang. Our Maker Day is part of a new collaboration with LocalGov Digital Makers and Democracy Club. It’s about turning our discussions around local democracy and digital into some practical tools that we can all use to make democracy work better for us.

What is a Maker Day?

It’s a chance to collaborate with others who care about democracy on issues that we choose together. Our focus at the Maker Day will be on sharing ideas for the 2016 local elections and trying some things out using elections data.

You might have seen some of Democracy Club’s great digital tools like YourNextMP for helping voters during the 2015 General Election. How can we create relevant tools for the local elections – and every election? We’ll be learning from each other as we go along.

Please come and take part in this practical day to help build a better local democracy. We’ll talk about the issues and use data that’s already available to quickly prototype something based on our shared ideas.

Who is it for?

  • Digital makers
  • Local government officers
  • Councillors and candidates
  • Community activists
  • Hyperlocals
  • Open data advocates
  • Voters of today and tomorrow

What will we be working on?

We want you to help us decide which issues we’ll focus on at the Maker Day. We already have a list of Local Democracy Design Challenges that have come from our previous events and conversations. You can tell us which us these you’d most like to see us working on right now:

Local Democracy Challenges – what matters most to you?

If you work for an Electoral or Democratic Services team, we also have a short survey that you can fill in to tell us more about your experience of being involved in elections:

Electoral and Democratic Services survey

Book your ticket

It’s free. We have a limited number of places, so please book your ticket now.
Book now for Local Democracy Maker Day
 
 
 

Democracy Club

Local Democracy Bytes and hashtag Not Westminster
 
 
 

LocalGov Digital Maker
 
 
 

Local Democracy Bytes and LocalGov Digital Makers are part of LocalGov Digital. Our Maker Day is a fringe event of LocalGov Camp 2015, held on Saturday 12th September at the same venue.