The disconnect between democracy and services

Ideas from the “The disconnect between democracy and services” workshop at #notwestminster 2015, hosted by Phil Rumens.

Workshop challenge

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. How might we re-engage the democratic process with the delivery of council services, so democracy doesn’t become an abstract concept that citizens can’t see the need for?

The three ideas

Flag created by Juan Pablo Bravo from The Noun Project

    1. Better skills for councillors through development sessions.
    2. Greater powers of scrutiny for members over partners and officers.
    3. Joined up approach to the information around service delivery.

[Ensure members represent the people services are delivered to.]


Want to join us in working on one or more of these ideas?
You can Leave a Reply at the foot of this page.



Services placard






About the workshop host


Phil RumensPhil Rumens
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

3 thoughts on “The disconnect between democracy and services

    stacycosham said:
    March 18, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    I’m not sure I agree with the Scrutiny idea. I feel that legislation already enables committees to effectively hold partners and especially officers to account. Perhaps the idea is to better ensure that internally the scrutiny committee is enabled to do its job?


    stacycosham said:
    March 18, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Perhaps an idea would be for Councillors to undertake more participatory work with local communities when reviewing service delivery? In my experience, Cllrs show an interest in skills development but fail to turn up. So its not a lack of opportunities. Maybe if Cllrs spent more time on the ground, with communities during their decision making process they will be better informed and service users are more engaged?


    […] Phil Rumens (West Berkshire) encouraged us to consider how digital engagement could facilitate service design and delivery without recourse to elected members – perhaps leaving an accountability gap. More about Phil’s workshop […]


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