digital

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

Advertisements

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.

 

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

Posted on

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.

Join us for a #notwestminster Election Special

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#notwestminster Election Special

#notwestminster Election Special
Wednesday 29th April 2015
From 7.30pm to 9pm

 

Got something to say about how voters, candidates, councils and the media are making use of digital during the elections? Got something to share about what you’re working on? Got a wish list of useful digital stuff for future local elections? Want to make connections with people who can help you do things differently with digital?

 

Join us for a twitter discussion on Wednesday 29th April 2015, starting at 7.30pm. We’ll be tweeting live from the PechaKucha Election Special at the Media Centre in Huddersfield. We’ll share some of what’s being talked about on the night and ask you about some of the election issues that we’re thinking about. It’s a chance to share whatever you’d like to say about digital democracy during the elections – with a distinct focus on local democracy.

 

How to take part:

Tweet using #notwestminster or follow us @LDBytes

 

 

 

PechaKucha night in HuddersfieldIn or near Huddersfield on 29th April?

Please come along to the PechaKucha Election Special featuring some of our #notwestminster participants:

 

  • David Bundy, Policy Officer, Kirklees Council
  • Andrew Mycock, Reader in Politics, University of Huddersfield
  • Lewis Anderson, Kirklees Youth Council

 

The event also features some of the Politics students from the University of Huddersfield and members of the Huddersfield Students’ Union who have done some great work encouraging students to register to vote and get involved in democracy.

 

The PechaKucha Election Special is being curated by Dr Andy Mycock, with support from the Media Centre in Huddersfield.

Different with Digital: Opportunities and Challenges for Local Democracy

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Different with Digital, 31st March 2015, live stream #PSA15Guest blog by Sonia Bussu

On Tuesday 28th March 2015, the Local Politics standing group (part of the British Political Studies Association) hosted a innovative panel at the PSA general conference in Sheffield. The panel was called “Different with Digital” and was true to its title. It went digital all the way, in terms of content and delivery.

In terms of content it had three great papers on how digital and social media are impacting local democracy; in terms of delivery, for the first time in the history of the PSA (I think!), the panel was webcast and people not attending the conference could take part in the Q&A via Twitter. I was particularly pleased with these digital developments, since, after convening the panel, I was unable to attend in person in the end. The Local Democracy Bytes crowd was great at taking over and delivered an excellent panel.

You can find out more about the PSA panel at:
How will digital change local politics?
How will digital change local politics? – Storify

When I convened the panel, I saw it as a spin-off of an event I organised in London a few months ago for Involve. There we explored how local representatives are using social media and how that’s affecting their relationship with the local community. At the time, we concluded that as a tool of party politics social media might actually expose politicians and make them vulnerable to virtual attacks and naïve mistakes. The great potential for social media seems to lie instead in engaging and mobilising residents and activists around local issues and local needs, offering spaces where citizens can put forward and discuss ideas, away from party politics.

You can find out more about the Involve event and our conclusions at:
Social media and local political representation: a game changer or all hype? Watch the video
Social media and local representation: the end of a love affair?

The Local Politics panel had a broader scope and looked at local democracy beyond just local representatives. Listening to the panellists and the comments from the real and virtual audience, I thought of Marshall McLuhan’s words: “We shape our tools, and then they shape us.”

The three presentations (on the role e-petitions can play at the local level; evolving digital models for councils and councillors; and Twitter use among Bristol’s councillors) clearly showed that we’re undergoing an adjustment period in terms of changing communication styles and modes of interactions between institutions and citizens.

Some (institutions and / or individuals) are adjusting faster than others, in a wide spectrum that goes from denial or lip service; to transfer online of existing offline practice; to sanctioning or at least prescribing strict rules on the use of social media to (artificially and ineffectively, I’d say) control potential backlashes; and finally toleration and experimentation. Overall, under the pressure of social media the relationship between policy makers and citizens seems to be becoming more immediate, direct, and informal. But is it more meaningful?

I’ve recently come across a very interesting article by Tim O’Reilly (#SocialCivics and the architecture of participation), who encourages policy makers to rethink civic participation as standardised parts and the unit size for participation. What does it mean? Put it simply, the larger the unit of participation, the harder it is for people to take part. To me that means sharing accessible political content online that can talk to and engage with different audiences in different ways and through different platforms (e.g. Twitter users behave differently from Facebook users for a start). But also breaking down big issues into local issues, so as to make them relevant to people’s lives, and using social media more effectively to listen to and take in people’s input in a two-way dialogue, which at the local level can be more immediate and tangible.

In this respect, as one panellist put it, social media has the potential to make politics and democracy more local.

There are a number of challenges though.

A big one is the issue of institutional capacity to feed public input (which is generally of a qualitative nature) into policy making (which traditionally relies on more quantitative evidence). This is an aspect where (local and national) policy makers should really experiment with, with a bit more courage (through trialling and prototyping).

As an expert in deliberative democracy, I feel social media pose a big challenge to high quality debating and risk fostering greater polarisation. This might be particularly relevant in the case of e-petitions, which are growing in popularity and could play a big role in local democracy.

E-petitions show systematic bias in the selection of relevant information and fail to consider counter-arguments. We might then want to consider how to offset these risks by combining online and offline deliberative tools. One example that springs to mind is the Citizens’ Initiative Review, which started in Oregon in 2010 and is becoming very popular in many Western states in the US.

24 voters are selected through stratified sampling, so as to be broadly representative of the demographics of the state. They have 5 days to deliberate, after listening to opposing arguments and expert views on the issue. The final statement they produce goes into the official voter’s pamphlet. This method has proved to increase public knowledge and understanding of the issue. Voters would seem to trust these peer statements more than official ones, also included in the voter pamphlet.

There is a lot of innovation out there, which is inevitably altering the relationship between traditional institutions and modern societies. How and if these transformations will alter the balance of power between representatives and citizens and translate into meaningful democratic change is hard to predict. But local councils and councillors shouldn’t miss this opportunity to revitalise their democratic role in the community.

 

Do you have something to say about digital local democracy?

Guest blogs welcome – please email us at rewiring.democracy@gmail.com or tweet us @LDBytes

 

Digital Local Democracy – The 21st Century Councillor

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 Brainstorm by Jessica Lock from The Noun ProjectWorkshop idea by Ken Eastwood & Cllr David Harrington


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 Local Democracy – The 21st Century Councillor

The challenge:

We have all seen how the digital revolution is empowering citizens to engage in campaigns or community issues in different ways. Against this backdrop, the role of elected representatives can become unclear. This workshop seeks to explore this issue in further detail, considering the opportunities presented by digital technologies.

We have seen how social media and other digital tools are enabling self-organisation and facilitating campaigning, whether against an oppressive regime in an overseas country, or an unpopular planning application much nearer home.

Facebook, forums and blogs are increasingly being used by local communities, to have their own place on the web. An online mixture of parish newsletter, noticeboard and discussion forum, these ‘hyper-local’ websites are enriching communities by connecting individuals with shared interests, often based on place and belonging.

Ken Eastwood has experience of developing online communities, including for a West Yorkshire village and Parish Council, and believes that there is opportunity for community leaders and elected representatives to engage with citizens in new ways.

David Harrington has been reaching out to citizens making use of technology including by running ward surgeries online using Skype.

Together, we are interested in how elected representatives can make use of digital technologies and in the opportunity presented by online communities.


#notwestminster #cllr


Ken EastwoodKen Eastwood
@keneastwood
Digital Nomads

Ken Eastwood is the founder of Digital Nomads. He has 26 years local government experience, latterly as an Assistant Director and member of the leadership team at Barnsley MBC.

Ken has significant expertise in transformation and technology enabled change. An author of articles on digital innovation and new ways of working and delivering services, he is a well known commentator on the digital agenda. Former Project Nomad national eGov board member and founder and national lead of Public Sector Nomads, Ken has been at the forefront of mobile & flexible working for over a decade.


Councillor David HarringtonCouncillor David Harrington
@cllrharrington
Cabinet Member for Corporate Management and Finance,
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
& LGiU Online Councillor of the Year 2013

First elected in 2005, re-elected in 2007 and 2011, as an Independent, David represents Ingleby Barwick which is believed to be the largest private housing estate in western Europe. He was the first Ward Councillor in the North-East to use social media as a means of engagement in 2008. In 2013, he was awarded the title of Online Councillor of the Year by the LGiU and CCLA for his innovative use of Skype and Twitter for engaging with residents.

David Harrington – Your councillor