Helping parliaments get closer to the people they represent

By Andy Williamson A key challenge for those trying to engage a broader public in parliamentary democracy is that the processes often appear closed and opaque (because, often, they are). The language is off-putting, the procedures cumbersome and unfriendly, and it’s hard to see what’s going on. It can be hard to see any value […]

The Zero Heroes Community Competition

In 2013-14, The Democratic Society worked with Lewes District Council on the Zero Heroes Community Competition. The core challenge of the project was to encourage more residents to reduce waste by using a variety of techniques, and the project achieved several significant outcomes. The project was highlighted at the World Forum for Democracy in November 2013 […]

Here today, gone tomorrow?

Regular readers of this blog probably need little convincing about the importance of open policymaking and better consultation. This blog is itself a great example of learning-by-doing. And the resources being developed – in particular the frameworks for ideal policy team behaviours and the fledgling matrix should provide a practical toolkit for teams wanting to […]

Engaging with academics: new GOS report

The Government Office for Science have just published a new report on improving open policymaking by engaging with academics. On a quick skim, it looks a good read. Scribd version below or download the PDF from BIS.   Government Office for Science report: Engaging with Academics by

Will the Government rethink its approach to consultation?

This project led by the Democratic Society on open policy making has been focusing on how to improve the mechanisms we use for consultation. While it might not have made (m)any headlines, a recent House of Lords report strongly challenged the Government’s new guidance on consultations and has confirmed the concerns of many organisations which have been following these developments closely. […]

Plain speaking

This project led by the Democratic Society has been focusing on how to improve the mechanisms we use for consultation. But if we are going to involve and engage more people, we also need to change the words we use to talk about policy. Plain English is mandatory on the new GOV.UK website. The Government Digital Service has created a useful list […]

Designing e-learning on open policy making- we need your help

Successful policy requires a good understanding of the political context in which policy is formulated; a strong evidence base and, an explicit focus on delivery. The policy profession, with Civil Service Learning, are developing a suite of learning sessions to support those in policy roles in the above areas. As part of this suite of […]

The Matrix Reloaded: Building the database

In an earlier post I talked about the six outcomes that policy makers are working towards when engaging on or discussing policy with the public. In this post, I’d like to: explore the best way to map successful (or otherwise useful) case studies detailing consultation or digital engagement exercises to these six outcomes. explore the best […]

The Matrix: Delivering the Right Outcomes

There were several useful comments in response to my first post in which I set out six outcomes that I think policymakers hope to achieve when they engage or consult with citizens on issues related to policy. Ahead of my next post on the design of the proposed Matrix tool, I thought I’d update the […]