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

What happens in Huddersfield doesn’t stay in Huddersfield: Ideas for improving engagement in local government from Not Westminster 2017

Yet again ‘Not Westminster’ brought together a fascinating group of people from across the UK who work to put people at the heart of local government, and to improve local democracy, and provided space and opportunity to discuss where we go next. We were particularly inspired by hearing from Emily Warrilow, a Kirklees youth councillor who spoke about the difference that one person can make in taking the time to kindle a lifetime’s passion for politics. Hearing Emily’s memories of Jo Cox, and her own passion for politics, powerfully reminded us what we’re…Read more
DemsocMCR Launch Event Summary

DemsocMCR Launch Event Summary

Last week we launched Demsoc Manchester, our new hub that compliments the work we’re already doing in Brighton, Edinburgh and Brussels. Thanks to everyone who came along and contributed to an interesting and lively discussion. In case you couldn’t make it, here’s a quick summary of what happened on the night!   We asked the room ‘How can devolution be a breakthrough for engagement in democracy?’, a divisive subject at the best of times, and it provided lots of different and stimulating opinions and ideas.   We heard thoughts from Michelle Brook, Demsoc’s…Read more
DemsocMCR’s Launch Event!

DemsocMCR’s Launch Event!

As some of you may know, Demsoc have recently opened a new hub in Manchester, with Beth, Mat and Michelle looking for interesting opportunities to work in the north west to improve democracy, especially around devolution, and local and open government. As part of this new office, we will be launching a brand new series of Demsoc events! Once a month, we will be meeting on a Thursday evening, in a relaxed location such as a pub or café, to explore interesting questions related to democracy and politics, as well as what can…Read more

Is Local GDS a good idea?

There is a conversation going on online about the concept of a Local Government Digital Service, modelled on the lines of central government's GDS. See, for example, Dominic's tweet, and posts from Carl Haggerty (in 2012) and Richard Copley (on Monday). I can see the appeal of a single solution, a piece of beautiful design that brings together all of the different council services in a new way, and unlocks money from transforming services. Who wouldn't love that? I wonder, though, whether the success of GDS is more a siren song than a…Read more

Carl Haggerty’s Framework for the future of Digital Local Public Services (@carlhaggerty)

Carl Haggerty of Devon County Council has a very interesting blogpost on what the future of local public services might look like in a digital world. There is a lot of crossover with central government, not just in the fact that many local services are delivered through Whitehall-led organisations. Well worth perusing.The following drawing focuses on the underlying proposition that every citizen can and will meaningfully integrate the internet into their daily lives. This level of active and capable participation should allow for new opportunities to emerge which reduce and divert demand to…Read more

New INLOGOV pamphlet on how community organising shapes public policy

This is a good read for policymakers who are thinking about on-the-ground delivery of their policies. (That's everyone, right?)Community organising has a long tradition internationally. It offers a way for communities to recognise their common interests and mobilise to achieve change. Often their target is government, and their desire is to redress disadvantage by actively campaigning for changes in policy and practice. Sometimes this is to overcome the effects of existing policy, but it is also about shaping emerging policy to ensure that affected communities become beneficiaries rather than bearing the costs. Co-production…Read more

YouTube, Budget Consultations, and how a great blogger made it better still

This post by Helen Reynolds originally appeared on the Digital Monmouthshire Blog. It started back in 2010 – our Cabinet Member for Finance, Phil Murphy, was keen to get more people engaged with proposals we were making to change our budget for the following year.  We decided it might be worth filming him talking about the budget proposals and putting it up on YouTube. Every year Phil goes to great lengths to get out to as many community halls and meetings as he can to present what’s being scrapped, changed, increased and introduced…Read more

Power-sharing in Place-making

This post is by Nick Wright, and originally appeared on his blog, People, Place and Planning. Over the last five years, co-production and collaboration have become popular – the concepts of people and organisations working together to make better places, with a focus on action. For some examples, look through the case studies in the excellent Compendium for the Civic Economy or the winning projects of last month’s SURF regeneration awards. There’s clearly no shortage of excellent community-based projects which are improving places and making real differences to people’s lives. What worries me is that, despite this…Read more

What about medium-sized?

In 2006, before the financial crisis and the resultant fiscal collapse, the last Government published a Local Government White Paper, Strong and Prosperous Communities. This is to some degree the ur-text of localism. It also points to some of the financial and administrative challenges that have confronted councils, with increasing intensity, ever since. The White Paper exhorted councillors and officers to get out of their town halls and take local government to where people really live, into the communities electors recognise. Services were to be tailored to meet the needs and demands of those localities and even, where possible,…Read more