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
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

Vacancy – Digital Democratic Engagement Officer

The Democratic Society is recruiting a Digital Democratic Engagement Officer to support our Participatory Budgeting work in Scotland. This is initially a six month contract based at our office in Edinburgh, Scotland. Full information, including the application process, is outlined in the job description below. The deadline for applications is 10am on Monday 14th November 2016. All applicants will be contacted within 2 weeks of the deadline and the strongest applicants will be invited for interview week commencing the 28th November. Please direct any questions to Alistair Stoddart, Scotland Network Manager - aws10@demsoc.org / 07732 836 741. We look forward…Read more
Turning the tide on democracy?

Turning the tide on democracy?

By Millicent Scott This October, the Athens Democracy Forum will bring together actors from across the world to examine the current threats to democracy from the refugee crisis subsuming Europe, Africa and the Middle East and the rise of terrorist attacks which challenge the core ideals of democracy, to the rise of populism and the spectre of authoritarianism together with the accelerating erosion of trust in our political systems. It is in this context that Ban-Ki Moon, secretary general of the United Nations, has asked the Athens Democracy Forum "How do we turn…Read more

Beyond #BoatyMcBoatface: Digital Tools for Democracy

While various elections were taking place the other week another Democratic Battle was coming to an end: Rest In Peace RSS Boaty McBoatface – and all who will never sail in her. After much hype, laughter and excitement regarding the potential new name of Natural Environment Research Council’s (NERC) £200m polar research vessel the policy makers decided that it should be named after Sir David Attenborough. This doesn’t initially seem to be a controversial choice, but if we throw into the mix an open Name Our Ship Poll, harnessing the power of the…Read more

Scotland’s participation ‘spring’; what are the Scottish Government doing?

Scotland is in the midst of a ‘participation spring’; a unique and enviable position for a government and politicians to have such engaged and involved citizens. But there is a risk that this could all go to waste if the Scottish Government doesn’t seize this opportunity to engage and involve the public in meaningful participation. The Scottish Government are moving ever closer to making serious commitments to this agenda, bringing the executive one step nearer to realising the First Minister’s vision for her Government to be “the most open and accessible that Scotland…Read more
CSI: Scotland

CSI: Scotland

This post is an attempt to define what a common social infrastructure for civic participation might look like. It comes from discussions I’ve been having in a series of workshops on democratic renewal, hosted by the Scottish Government but involving lots of other government and civil society participants from around Scotland. The “common social infrastructure” idea came up at our last meeting. I promised to write a blog post to explain my take on what it meant - and this is the roughest of first drafts. There's a lot more work to be…Read more

#HolyroodTweetUp Scottish Leaders’ Debate Bingo

After the seven-headed Leaders' Debate in Manchester last week, the TV Debate focus is now shifting to Scotland as Scottish Party Leaders prepare to discuss the issues that matter to Scottish voters. The first Scottish Leaders' TV Debate of the General Election Campaign will take place tonight and will be broadcast by STV. You find out all you need to know about the debate and how to watch it here. If you are in Edinburgh tonight and wish to watch the debate in a friendly atmosphere and have a few pints, then please come along…Read more

Better Place Forum: Initial Thoughts.

Demsoc and ERS Scotland recently organised and facilitated a forum entitled: ‘A Better Place: Communities, Citizens and Consumers & New Approaches to Social Policy & Public Services’. We are currently compiling a report based on the discussions at the forum, but in the meantime, you can read my initial thoughts over on the What Works Scotland Blog: http://whatworksscotland.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/a-better-place-communities-citizens-and.htmlRead more