We aim to create new ways of making policy centered on public participation. Our priorities are to build transparency and accountability into existing Government structures and to use technology that is democratic by design.
In the UK, we are the public dialogue partners for the UK's open government programme. We have curated discussion regarding the future of the European Union and the policy direction of the European Commission. We have also worked with parish councils, neighbourhoods, counties and cities to develop local democracy and decision making.
Our clients include the Government Digital Service, the Cabinet Office, the European Union’s Department for Employment, NHS England, The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Scottish Government. We regularly showcase our thinking; recent examples include the World Forum on Democracy, Club of Venice, Personal Democracy Forum Europe, and the Political Studies Association's Participative & Deliberative Democracy conference.
We also offer four services through the public sector Digital Marketplace:
- Digital democracy consultancy
Support on designing and implementing digital democracy, participation and engagement projects, whether designed from scratch, or on existing cloud services, and embedding them in wider engagement approaches.
- Supporting online democracy & participation
Expert support and advice on selecting and operationalising participation and engagement solutions based on cloud services, from an independent and technology-neutral non-profit organisation.
- Digital engagement training
Training for staff and contractors in digital democracy and participation, showing the different tools available.
- Independent facilitation of digital engagement
External independent facilitation of digital engagement exercises, to maximise trust and manage difficult conversations in a shared space.
Our current projects include:
Government Consultations - how can they be improved?
This project is seeing The Democratic Society working with Snook Research to explore how the experience of online consultations, as run by Whitehall, can be improved.
Empowered Citizens: Networked Communities
Empowered Citizens: Networked Communities is a project that seeks to increase the involvement of people and communities in Coventry at a neighbourhood level and through social networks.
Open Government Partnership
The Democratic Society are excited to be the lead on the Civic Participation strand of the UK Governments commitments for the 2016 National Action Plan developed as part of the Open Government Partnership.
Digital Tools and Participatory Budgeting in Scotland
The Scottish Government commissioned Demsoc to conduct a research project into the use of digital tools to support Participatory Budgeting (PB), in the context of the requirements of local councils.
Public Participation in Decision-Making
Demsoc designed and facilitated an event focusing on public participation in public body decision-making. A wide range of people from Scottish public bodies and civil society attended and worked to produce a list of suggestions and tangible actions to assist the development of Scottish Government policy. The draft report from the event is now available on the project page.
Supporting Civic Activism with Building Change Trust in Northern Ireland
Working with local government and civil society to build democratic participation and openness in Northern Ireland, informed by best practice elsewhere in the UK.
More information about the projects we are supporting in Northern Ireland can be found here: http://civicactivism.buildingchangetrust.org/case-studies
Democratic Participation in a Citizen’s Europe: What Next for the EU?
A conference to assess, explore, and develop participation in democracy in the EU.
Design, organisation and facilitation of two events for the European Parliament Information Office in the UK about the Future of European Democracy.