“City Democracy Incubator” joins the shortlist for Advocate Europe!

Advocate Europe is a challenge to find unconventional and transnational ideas that respond to Europe’s present challenges, covering different fields such as civic education, arts and culture, social innovation and advocacy. The initiative is realised by MitOst and Liquid Democracy, funded by Stiftung Mercator. This year 475 ideas were submitted from 42 countries, with 31 of those ideas selected for a shortlist. The shortlisted ideas are each in with a chance of securing grants of up to €50,000 and mentoring to implement their ideas – and we’re delighted to share that the idea…Read more

Change at the Council: Independent Review of Governance for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Today, The Democratic Society (Demsoc) and the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS) published a report titled Change at the Council: Independent Review of Governance for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Funded by the Local Government Association (LGA), this report is the result of months of research conducted by talking to residents, councillors, council officers and partners about the good and bad aspects of the current system, and how it can be improved. We have looked at the way that the Council makes decisions and who is involved in making those decisions.…Read more

Ideas of Democracy: Save Democracy – Abolish Voting

Demsoc has just launched the first in our Ideas of Democracy series. The series is intended to give space for writers to express a vision and contribute to the debate on the future of democracy and democratic governance. The books are personal views, and not those of the Society. Here Paul Evans, author of "Save Democracy - Abolish Voting" discusses his new book, which you can buy online now. “Save Democracy – Abolish Voting” sketches out an alternative means of managing liberal democracy. It is an unusual book, in that it defends the…Read more

Reflections on a three month internship with The Democratic Society

In June we were delighted to welcome Alex Hrabinová to our office in Edinburgh to begin a three-month internship, which was enabled by the Erasmus+ programme. Having now returned home to Slovakia, we asked Alex to reflect on her time spent working with the Demsoc team. You can read about her experiences below. We're always happy to hear from people interested in working in the Democratic Sector. We are able to support occasional internship opportunities, but it's important to us that the placements are meaningful development opportunities and can fit alongside our existing…Read more

Event Alert: Democracy in action? – The Place of Referendums in Scotland and the UK

The referendum is, in theory, one of the best democratic instruments around.  One person, one vote. Direct Democracy in action. Look at Switzerland! However, when we look at referendums in more detail, we can be exposed to a very different picture. Are referendums being used within a democratic culture that generates positive democratic outcomes? Alistair Stoddart from The Democratic Society will speak on a panel about The Place of Referendums in Scotland and the UK in Glasgow on Wednesday 13th September 2017 from 5.30pm.   The event has been organised by the Centre…Read more
Help us research how the EU is trying to open up, and how this can be supported

Help us research how the EU is trying to open up, and how this can be supported

We are trying to find out what initiatives are already happening to build greater accountability, participation, and transparency into the work of the EU. We also want to find who the people are within EU institutions that are working on these initiatives, and driving this change. We want to speak to these people about how this kind of work can be better supported – is there a way that learning and progress can be better shared, and innovators within and outside the institutions better linked up? This is where you may be able…Read more
Mentoring for democratic innovation – a new way of working?

Mentoring for democratic innovation – a new way of working?

Democratic innovation can sometimes be challenging because people underestimate what it takes to run a successful process, but with strategic support these processes can be much easier to grasp, and with more confidence, much easier to deliver. In a recent project (Civic Activism Programme) in Northern Ireland we worked with our friends at Building Change Trust (BCT) and Involve to run a mentoring programme to support local democratic innovation projects. The aim of the Civic Activism Programme was to trial innovative ways of engaging with local communities, and BCT recognised that programme projects would…Read more
Have people in Northern Ireland given up on democracy?

Have people in Northern Ireland given up on democracy?

What do people in Northern Ireland think of democracy? Have they become downheartened, disappointed, disillusioned? If the crowds that came for Democracy Day in Belfast last month are anything to go by, it’s clear there’s a lot of enthusiasm and energy for democracy – and plenty of ideas for how to fix it!   Coincidentally meeting as Stormont talks were coming to a close leaving Northern Ireland in somewhat of a political deadlock, it was perhaps a fitting time to be talking about the health of democracy in Northern Ireland!   We spent the day exploring…Read more
Digital democracy: don’t engage for engagement’s sake

Digital democracy: don’t engage for engagement’s sake

Last month NESTA published a paper called Digital Democracy: The tools for transforming political engagement. It’s a comprehensive and well written piece of work and we are glad we had the opportunity to contribute to it. Members of our team in Scotland have been delivering support, guidance and learning about digital engagement to governments for many years and we are glad issues from our front line experiences are highlighted in NESTA’s paper. Digital Democracy includes interviews, research and case studies and it is summarised in 6 key themes. Every one of the 6…Read more
My first two months- a diary of Demsoc’s new Digital Engagement Officer

My first two months- a diary of Demsoc’s new Digital Engagement Officer

Hello, I'm Leah and I joined the Democratic Society’s Scottish team in early January as a Digital Engagement Officer to work on a digital integration project with a focus on participatory budgeting (PB). A main purpose of the role is to help local government and community groups think about how they can expand reach and have greater participation in their PB work by using online idea generation and voting alongside their traditional engagement methods. I have been working for years to promote better use of web and social media in government, both for…Read more