Consultation overload

Government consultations don't stand on their own - they compete in a marketplace of political engagement opportunities national, local, formal and informal. An interesting snapshot of how crowded that marketplace is comes from Brighton & Hove, where the strategic partnership have undertaken an audit of all "significant or major" consultation activity planned across the local public sector in the 2012/3 financial year. The research shows that the different public sector organisations plan on undertaking at least eighty significant consultation exercises this year, just in Brighton & Hove, a city of 260,000 people. Many of…Read more

Creative Councils: report from Birmingham

Demsoc Governor Catherine Howe has written up our recent trip to Birmingham as part of the We Live Here Creative Councils project, which we're undertaking with Brighton & Hove City Council, the Brighton & Hove CVSF, Podnosh and Catherine's company Public-i. Here's a sample: Two immediate things struck me from the experience, the first was the fact that the NESTA team seem to be running a genuinely open process and that they want the best ideas to do well – with no real agenda as to what ‘best’ means in this context – I hope…Read more

CityForum Brighton & Hove launch

One of our current projects is a project called CityForum Brighton & Hove, a trial run for a series of citywide participation events, sponsored by the University of Brighton. We held a launch event in the midst of a torrential downpour last week, and Demsoc governor Catherine Howe has written it up for the Demsoc Brighton & Hove site: For me the meeting also helped to clarify what Cityforum is going to be – and also what people want from it.  It think its best described as an opportunity for people with ideas…Read more

Brighton, Hove and First Past the Post

We were following the elections in our home city of Brighton over on our new Twitter account @DemsocBTN, which we'll be using for our local activities alongside the main @Demsoc feed. As you might have read in the papers, the Green Party won the most seats, and are likely to form a minority cabinet. The AV referendum vote was "No", but only by a margin of 250 votes in 80,000 cast. Given the city is (just) against AV, it's ironic that the First Past the Post had some big effects in the Council…Read more

Why I’m excited about CityCamp Brighton

Over the weekend, the Society will be helping to organise CityCamp Brighton, a three-day innovation event in our home city. Here, Jo Ivens writes about why she's excited about helping to organise it: I’ve worked in central government for the last 4 years and have been impressed, exhilarated, stimulated, surprised and crushed by the experience in roughly equal measures. Having spent the majority of what I laughingly call my career in the local voluntary sector trying to make a difference, the thing that really drove me to work in central government was making…Read more