UK Democracy Meetup

This half-hour weekly event accompanies the Democracy Handbook. The handbook is a co-created resource for everyone working to improve democracy in the UK. This event is a chance to share what you’re working on, flag relevant news/events, and make requests or offers.

We gather together every Thursday, from 2pm til 2.30pm. Sign up here to add to your calendar and for an email reminder prior to the event

If you can't make 2pm on Thursday, you can always opt to write down your updates directly into the Check-ins section below. On Friday we'll send a bulletin out to the wider UK democracy sector with a summary of your updates, you can check out last week's here.

You will get more out of this session if you are familiar with Google Docs, including how to use comments. It’s also helpful if you’re signed into Google, if you have an account.

Return to the UK Democracy Meetup homepage

How this works

Zoom (optional):        https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88234220745 

Password:                Democracy

14:00 - 14:10                Write your check-in below

14:10 - 14:20                Read everyone else’s check-ins and make comments

14:20 - 14:30                Answer comments on your check-in, organise follow-up chats

14:30 - 14:40                Breakout Rooms, for those who want them

Friday                        The team edits together everyone’s updates and sends them out via the mailing list.

Breakout Rooms

Feel free to make suggestions for topics for (voicechat) discussion, and we’ll set these up as breakout rooms at 14:30

  • Working together

Check-ins

Roxana Khan-Williams, Hope Not Hate

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

  • Email: roxana@hopenothate.org.uk
  • twitter.com/roxkhanwilliams
  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Yes / No

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

  • We are organising a Youth Vote day of action[a] on social media on the 8th April.[b] The aim of this day is to flood social media platforms with content encouraging young people to register to vote and exercise their democratic right. We will be using the hashtag #OurVoteOurVoice. If you would like more information or your organisation is interested in getting involved please do send me an email[c][d]!

What will you try to achieve next week?

  • Get as many partner organisations involved in this day of action as possible

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

Titus Alexander, Democracy Matters

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Yes

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

  • Democracy Matters was an informal alliance of about 30 education providers, civil society networks and campaign trainers which aimed to put education for democracy, practical politics and campaign training on the curriculum, but it ceased to function as many member organisations lost funding or folded (including mine)
  • I continued to produce a newsletter and organise occasional forums and events, and take part in the Political Literacy Oversight Group (PLOG) and APPG, convened by Shout Out UK
  • I am rethinking my strategy and priorities: these are projects I could work on with anyone who thinks they would be useful:
  1. Create a public ‘portal / ‘gateway to democracy sector’ & directory[e] 
  2. Moonshot for Democracy’ - persuade an agency to build a global alliance for democracy
  3. Campaigning on the Curriculum: How Universities Can Make a Difference- 12 Reasons to Teach Practical Politics
  4. Political Science and the Democratic Method - work in progress, making the case for higher education to provide education[f] and support for civic engagement (the thinking behind the moonshot)
  5. Building an online resources centre for learning practical politics [g][h]
  6. Democracy Briefings proposal - outline bid to run short interactive workshops on why democracy matters in constituencies with low voter turnout
  7. Practical Politics: Lessons in Power and Democracy - a textbook for teaching practical politics, published 2018, but not reviewed “because the subject is not on the curriculum” and “academics don’t read anything with ‘practical’ in the title”!  
  8. Declaration on Learning for Democracy - developed by DM members

What will you try to achieve next week?

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

  • Rebuild the Democracy Matters website as a portal / directory for the democracy sector

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

Ed Straw, Independent Constitutionalists UK

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

[email protected]

  • twitter.com/handle
  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Yes

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

What will you try to achieve next week?

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

  • I really like the way Australians working for democracy go about promoting it.
  • Here’s an example. Be good to see more aggression and straight talking here

https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/democracy/the-secret-rich-list/exposed-the-secret-rich-list?secure_token=ddb28f30d42764f42c1c17b9e8ad0f41ae9e5b0af998d8b7849d7d0ae413649c&t=kkJWTgKb&utm_campaign=Michael_West_has_blown_the_lid_on_Australia_s_secretive_billionaires&utm_content=30606&utm_medium=email&utm_source=blast 

Kyle Taylor, Director, Fair Vote UK

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Yes

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

  • We are launching the Fair Play Pledge next Wednesday in massive coalition. Jackie Weaver is speaking and folks can register here.
  • We’re also doing a live demo (where you get to “play!”) of an e-sports type tool[i] for fact-checking next Tuesday 6 April. If you want to join please email [email protected]

What will you try to achieve next week?

  • Get through the launch![j]

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

  • PRESS!

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

  • Can’t think of anything today. Is it the long weekend yet?

Rose Whiffen, Research Officer, Transparency International UK

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Yes / No

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

  • We work on corruption in the UK, focussing on three main project areas: corrupt capital, business practices, integrity in politics.
  • To elaborate on the latter, we work on lobbying issues, open data, revolving door, and many others!
  • We run this tool,(https://openaccess.transparency.org.uk/)  [k][l]which informs the public about who is lobbying our politicians.

What will you try to achieve next week?

  • Prepare data and liaise with developer to update the Open Access tool ( new update approx. late April).
  • Continue drafting a new report on lobbying best practice.

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

Edward Saperia, Dean, Newspeak House

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Yes

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

  • Newspeak House
  • An event venue in East London
  • A residential fellowship programme[m]
  • Working with UEA to establish a new accredited masters degree focused on political tech
  • Supporting specific communities
  • Tools
  • Under development
  • docs.plus, an open source real-time community collaboration tool
  • environmental permit data service, which will help conservationists and environmental activists scrutinise environmental permit applications
  • Twitter List Follower, a tool for community development which will allow someone to quickly follow everyone on a twitter list
  • Many other tools created by Newspeak House Fellows in the past, e.g.
  • unisocieties.com, register of all uni societies in the UK
  • Charitybase.uk, register of all charities in the UK
  • Huddled.io, community development tool

What will you try to achieve next week?

  • Finish & Launch Twitter List Follower
  • Finish first iteration of partnership materials for Environment Permit Data Service
  • Complete a grant report for docs.plus
  • Find out if we’ll get funding from JRRT
  • Work on National Lottery Growing Great Ideas bid

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

  • Support with grant-writing - does anyone know a good freelancer?

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

James Moulding, Organiser, UK Democracy Handbook

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Yes

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

What will you try to achieve next week?

  • Waiting with baited breath for the outcome of our JRRT democracy network bid, which you can read here
  • Look into community guidelines, specifically for the mailing list but with application generally across our work
  • Update our democracy org mapping database - currently lots of pending orgs we’ve noted but aren’t yet following
  • Looking to review all UK democracy sector funding orgs and check their funding application and scheduling and add it to the handbook
  • Continue to read, review and process the content of the newsletters from every single org in the democracy sector

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

  • Assist with mapping and monitoring

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

James Baster, Meet Your Next MSP

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Already am I think

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

What will you try to achieve next week?

  • More publicity and links with interested groups[o][p]. Some design work!

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

  • ^^

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

Rebecca Deegan, Founder, I have a voice

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Yes

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

What will you try to achieve next week?

We’re trying to show that political education and understanding how politics works isn’t just about democracy (though of course that is the most important factor), but that it also makes sense for lots of other reasons. We’re working towards an output that showcases lots of different perspectives on this and hoping that some policy recommendations become clear throughout this process. We published the first piece on why it makes business sense last week (all business leaders need to understand political risk) – please do read / share / let us know you’d like to contribute to this project 😊 https://www.ihaveavoice.org.uk/political-literacy-makes-business-sense

The local elections are just 5 weeks away eek!

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

  • Pull everything we’re doing into a cohesive strategy!

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

Jeremy Evans[r][s], Cofounder, Savvy (trysavvy.com)

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Yes!

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

  • Savvy Flows - a builder for creating custom interactive experiences on the web

What will you try to achieve next week?

  • Talk to some people who’re interested in using our builder for election/civic tech projects!

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

  • We’ve built a tool called Savvy Flows for creating custom interactive experiences on the web. We’re offering this free of charge for people building election (or other civic tech) projects.[t][u]
  • Things we can help you build:
  • Interactive ‘How/Where/When do I vote?’ tools
  • FAQs/helpdesks,
  • “Who should I vote for?” quizzes
  • Volunteer organising tools
  • An interactive way of organising your site and pointing people to the right place - useful if you have a lot of different types of people coming to your website and you want to triage them & point them to the right place
  • We’re the team who previously built the GE2017 voter advice tool that broke a few records in 2017, with over 2 million people completing the quiz. So always keen to chat and help work through ideas for projects too :)
  • You can see examples of Flows built in Savvy here: https://trysavvy.com These are marketing site examples, but yours could be the first civic tech project built in Savvy!

Myfanwy Nixon, Marketing and Communications, mySociety

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Already signed up

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

  • Same as last week[v] :) Transparency/Community/Democracy/Climate

What will you try to achieve next week?

  • We've signed up for an account with Canva (free for non-profits[w], top tip[x]) so expect slightly more polished comms.
  • It's actually still on my list to drop Irving a line[y] to discuss potential opps for outreach to MPs about our democracy projects

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

Josiah Mortimer, Head of Communications, Electoral Reform Society

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Yes

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

  • Currently planning for the May elections (inc. programme of research and comms on voting systems, need for PR in England. 20 years of PR on the London Assembly)
  • Working with Politics for the Many campaign[ac][ad] on trade union case for proportional representation
  • Voter ID - opposing plans and working with allies[ae][af]
  • Preparing for voter registration deadline (April 19th) - considering national day of action (pushing for automatic registration)
  • Opposing Home Secretary plans to impose First Past the Post on mayors and PCCs
  • Currently running campaign to put local democracy on the agenda in Scotland - need for local citizens’ assemblies
  • Wales - just helped co-run the Citizens’ Assembly on Climate in Blaenau Gwent

What will you try to achieve next week?

  • Begin programme of campaigning on voter ID
  • Confirming plans for voter registration drive
  • Next steps in Scotland local democracy campaign
  • Further press push on Politics for the Many book - comment pieces and polling
  • Supporting launch of FairVote’s FairPlay pledge

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

  • Run the voter ID campaign![ag]

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

  • Plans to impose FPTP on mayors/PCCs are deeply worrying
  • Recommend looking at the Welsh citizens’ assembly 
  • We’ve just launched a new book with Politics for the Many on the Labour/union case for political reform
  • New polling on people’s sense of powerlessness over Westminster - can share this PM

Peter Keeling, Democracy Club

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Yes / No

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

  • WhoCanIVoteFor.co.uk
  • WhereDoIVote.co.uk

What will you try to achieve next week?

  • Collecting candidate details for London& Scotland during the first half of the week; Wales and England in the second. Find out what we collect here.
  • We’ll also be working towards adding more data to our polling station finder.

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

  • Put things into spreadsheets!

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

  • We’re collecting nomination information for London and Scotland. By the end of today (depending on when councils publish the notices) voters in those two elections will be able to see their full candidate lists on WhoCanIVoteFor.co.uk
  • We put some Parish councils on WhoCanIVoteFor.co.uk

Liz Crosbie, Project Director, Reboot GB

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

EMail - [email protected]

Twitter @CrosbieLiz

Web www.rebootgb.today 

Already signed up for newsletters

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

  • Building a Progressive Alliance[ah][ai][aj] for the next General Election
  • Creating the narrative for what a Progressive Alliance government can hope to achieve
  • Empowering members to understand and advocate the TEN changes to Reboot GB

What will you try to achieve next week?

  • Collaborating on a draft Pledge for organisations
  • Drafting our internal positioning papers on Europe
  • Continuing development of our  membership resources
  • Brainstorming the questions we need answers to

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

  • Get a web-master[ak][al]!
  • Do research on attitudes to our TEN in the political parties

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

  • Recently joined the Democracy Alliance

Olive Baring, Project & Communications Coordinator, Shout Out UK

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Yes

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

  • Wide range of projects all centred round political and media literacy education
  • Political and media literacy courses, workshops and programmes for young people in schools, youth groups and other educational/youth settings. In particular our courses over the next few weeks will be centered around the elections
  • Secretariat for APPG on Political Literacy and wider campaigning work for universal political literacy education in schools
  • Amplifying the youth voice via our youth news platform, populated with articles written by young people on the issues they care about

What will you try to achieve next week?

  • Continuing to engage young people with the upcoming local elections and how to register and participate, working closely with teachers to support them to do this in ways that work for their schools - part of this involves tailoring our political literacy resources to the specific context of each school we’ll be working with over the next few weeks
  • Continuing outreach and engagement with schools, parliamentarians and stakeholders to generate enthusiasm and support for political literacy education

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

  • Expand our research and mapping of funders and other stakeholders relevant to our work

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

  • The next event for the APPG on Political Literacy will take place on 13th of May, everyone welcome to attend! Please sign up via this link and share as much as you’d like :) [am][an]

Jonny Will Chambers, Senior Consultant, Koreo

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Already in!

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

  • We’re continuing to build out the UK Democracy Map
  • Contributing to and supporting networking around the Democracy Handbook
  • Potentially helping support/run more networking dependent on result of the Democracy Network bid with JRRT which we’re expecting an answer on imminently
  • We’re also convening over 250 charities & non-profits to utilise the government Kickstart funding scheme to create 6 month placement opportunities for young people aged 16-24 on Universal Credit. Open to all, particularly administration roles. Fully funded by the government. More information here.
  • Alongside a couple of other people including Dem Soc, Reboot and Michelle Man we’re thinking about building out a theory of change for the democracy sector which could inform work and priorities, spot gaps etc

What will you try to achieve next week?

  • We’re about to go for another push to see if we can create some more work placements as part of the Kickstart scheme - we already have around 200 roles live, with many more to come. If you are a charity, community business or social enterprise let us know as you might be able to get full funding for roles covering 25 hours per week.
  • I’m giving Compassion in Politics a hand with their Nationbuilder website, so if anyone also uses Nationbuilder or has any problems etc always feel free to let me know or drop me a DM on twitter as I may be able to help/ save you time! @jonwillchambers

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

  • As always, some more data, research etc - hopefully we’ll be able to do this as part of the democracy networking proposal if we are successful

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

Roger Wilson, Director, Unite To Reform

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Yes

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

  • Drive electoral cooperation between pro-democracy and progressive parties[ao][ap] in the UK
  • Drive voter engagement with democracy across the UK
  • Working with other organisations including Compass, Make Votes Matter and others

  • Unite To Reform facilitated and mediated the electoral agreement between the LibDems, the Green Party, and Plaid Cymru at General Election 2019 across 60 seats. The analysis of the effect of the electoral agreement is in the report here.

What will you try to achieve next week?

  • Not applicable for the moment

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

  • Not applicable for the moment

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

  • The next General Election could be as early as Autumn 2022, and could be before or after the planned Boundary Changes that will be implemented from June 2023

  • 1/4/2021: Attending meetup for the first time

Kevin Keith, Chair, UK Open Government Network

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Yes

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

  • We are a collective of civil society organisations seeking to make government work better for people through the open government principles of greater accountability, transparency and governance.

What will you try to achieve next week?

  • Hopefully a finalised draft of the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the forthcoming UK Multistakeholder Forum process as part of developing the next (2021 - 2023) Nation Action Plan (NAP). The draft ToR is here and the deadline for responses is April 6th: https://docs.google.com/document/d/18595jO4xGqa9Rbcyp5WLtSR4Pc8ydJNn6AYkCzhCKSM/edit?usp=sharing
  • Basically the NAP is a plan for a more open government, co-created by civil society and government (so desperately needed right now). The UK government must produce a NAP as part of their membership of the Open Government Partnership. But it’s more than that. It’s about trying to rebuild trust between citizens and government at a crucial time of change.
  • There are nine Thematic Groups that will make recommendations on topics including: Open Procurement / Contracting; Open Justice; Data Ethics (Algorithmic Transparency); Health; Misinformation; Freedom of Information; The Environment, Climate Change, Net Zero; Democracy building | Processes and models; Public Standards and Accountability.
  • All really timely.
  • The first round of Thematics Groups will be open to all, so will make sure dates are circulated to those in here (as well as elsewhere).

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

  • Get them to drop in here to say hello! And probably assist with some of the short terms demands around the MSF process above.

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

Michael Mulvey, Outreach Coordinator, Independent Constitutionalists UK

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

@icuk_live

  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Yes

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

  • See our Declaration of Purpose at ic.uk.org.uk

What will you try to achieve next week?

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

  • Help IC-UK bring together the numerous existing UK democracy initiatives under “one roof” so as to constitute a viable force to exercise effective and lasting political influence for radical change.  How do we achieve effective influence for democratic good without being a political party?

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

Tim Hughes, Director, Involve

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Yes / No

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

  • Lots of citizens’ assemblies. Most recently Scotland’s Climate Assembly, Jersey Climate Assembly, Jersey Citizens’ Jury on Assisted Dying, Bristol Citizens’ Assembly, …
  • Thinking around “A democratic response to Covid”. Check out our blog series which has contributions from over 20 authors on different elements of participation, democracy and the pandemic
  • Capacity building around participatory and deliberative democracy, currently particularly targeted at local government

What will you try to achieve next week?

  • Lots of planning for the year ahead
  • Working on a book on democracy and the pandemic

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

  • We’ve got a lot of projects on the go at the moment involving people in decision-making in different ways. Lots of info here

Josh Russell, Forward Democracy

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? N/A

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

  • Youth Local Elections GOTV (this month at least)

What will you try to achieve next week?

  • Community day of action and amplification on April 8th, multiple campaigns sharing each other’s content. **Please get in touch with me if your campaign is doing something or would like to take part**
  • We’ll all be using these hashtags: #RegisterToVote #YourVoiceYourVote #LocalVotesCount

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

  • Social media engagement, campaign research

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?

Your name, job title, organisation

Contact details (remember this document is open to anyone with the link)

  • email
  • twitter.com/handle
  • Would you like to sign up to receive the weekly digest of this meetup? Yes / No

What are your organisations’ programmes / projects?

What will you try to achieve next week?

If you had an extra employee, what would you get them to do?

What have you seen or done that everyone should be aware of?


The Week in Democracy

Hello all,

Welcome to the digest of the UK Democracy Handbook, a weekly bulletin aggregating many of the activities across the democracy sector - including a summary of updates, news and gossip from our Thursday meetups.

In our first month we’ve connected face to face, or Zoom to Zoom, with over 60 people from across the democracy sector, an amazing 152 people have now subscribed to the handbook’s mailing list, plus an additional 35 organisations have signed our public call for networking, collaboration and growth in the sector.

Thank you for supporting our work so far. We’re running this so it can be useful to you, so please do tell us if there’s a reason you can’t participate. Please share your ideas, feedback and any questions you might have via our survey.

Please do take a moment to forward this email to anyone who might find it useful — they can sign up for these email updates here.

Without further adieu, here’s what happened this week across the UK democracy sector:

Policing Bill & Civil Liberties

The Government has launched an independent review of political violence and disruption – consultation is open until 10 May.

 Elections

Roxana Khan-Williams from Hope Not Hate, is coordinating a Youth Vote Day of Action on social media on the 8th April. Using the hashtag #OurVoteOurVoice, participating organisations and accounts will amplify each other’s content to encourage young people to register to vote.

Last Thursday, Chloe Smith MP, Minister for Constitution and Devolution, provided updates on the Government’s plans to support the 6 May elections, in addition to their published delivery plan in February. The updates include a commitment to provide a COVID-19 indemnity for local elections, referendums and election staff involved in election operations.

Peter Keeling and the Democracy Club community are busy collecting candidate details this week. Voters in London and Scotland should be able to see their full candidate lists on WhoCanIVoteFor by the end of this week. They also put some Parish councils on WCIVF for the first time.

Rebecca Deegan, Founder of I Have A Voice, is working on trying to show how political education is more than just about creating a healthy democracy, but why it’s important for lots of reasons. Publishing their first piece this week, the IHAV team focus on why having a good grasp of politics also makes good business sense.

Kyle Taylor, Director at Fair Vote UK, is launching the Fair Play Pledge next Wednesday 7th April. Join Kyle and Jackie Weaver at the launch next week, register here. Their colleague Matt is also running a live demo of an e-sports style tool for fact-checking next Tuesday, if that’s up your street get in touch with [email protected]

This week James Baster launched Meet Your Next MSP, a new tool to locate hustings for elections in Scotland.

Jeremy Evans, Cofounder at Savvy, is offering a tool for building custom interactive web experiences to election / civic tech projects free of charge. Back in 2017 they used the same technology to power GE2017.com, a voter advice tool used by over 2 million people in that election.

Michael Mulvey, Outreach Coordinator of the Independent Constitutionalists, is putting out a flyer calling on people to vote for independents in upcoming elections.

The race is on to elect the new Lord Speaker of the House of Lords, with members and the three candidates, Lord Alderdice, Baroness Hayter and Lord McFall, participating last week in online hustings hosted by the Hansard Society. A second hustings will take place on 12 April with the result of the election expected at the start of business in the Lords on 21 April.

This week the Conservative Party launched their election campaign for the May elections.

Democracy Reform

In an open rebuff to the arguments of the BLM movement, this week the Government’s independent commission on race and ethnic disparities has found that, when it comes to institutional racism, there’s nothing to see here. According to the landmark report, the UK is “a model for other white-majority countries”. Maurice Mcleod, Chief Executive of Race on the Agenda, has described the inquiry’s conclusions as “government-level gaslighting”.

Tim Hughes, Director at Involve, highlights their thinking around a “democratic response to Covid” in a new blog series with contributions from over 20 authors on different elements of participation, democracy and the pandemic. Alongside this, they’re full steam ahead on delivering citizens’ assemblies right across the UK, from Jersey to Scotland. Involve are hiring a Director of Advocacy and Communications, to really upgrade their output in those areas. Know anyone who fits the bill?

Rose Whiffen, Research Officer at Transparency International UK, is working to update their Open Access tool, which provides the public with information about who is lobbying our politicians. Rosie notes that this week Transparency gave evidence to the Committee on Standards in Public Life, making the argument for stronger regulation of the Ministerial Code, Lords & business appointments, to better uphold the Nolan Principles.

Professor Lorna Woods and William Perrin set out a process by which electoral harms, including protecting the safety of those involved in elections and the integrity of the electoral process itself, might be addressed in the new Online Safety regime.

According to Kevin Keith, Chair of the UK Open Government Network, a finalised draft of the Terms of Reference for the forthcoming Multistakeholder Forum process is now complete and open to responses until April 6th. Each week in their democracy meetup notes, Kevin has been providing great blow-by-blow updates on the development of the new Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, as well as commentary on the OGN Committee’s reaction to the controversial Policing Bill.

Project & Comms Coordinator at Shout Out UK, Olive Baring, is engaging young people and supporting them to register and participate in the upcoming elections. To this end, liaising closely with teachers, they’re tailoring Shout Out’s political literacy resources to the specific context of each school they’re working with over the next few weeks. Shout Out UK, as Secretariat of the APPG on Political Literacy, are hosting the second meeting of the new group on the 13th May, sign up here.

ERS are readying a campaign to oppose the Government’s plans for voter ID, reports Josiah Mortimer, Head of Communications at the Electoral Reform Society. They’re also supporting the launch of Fair Vote’s Fair Play Pledge and running a campaign to put local democracy and the need for local citizens’ assemblies on the agenda in Scotland. Josiah just helped co-run the Citizens’ Assembly on Climate in Blaenau Gwent, which they state is well worth a look-in.

Researching Democracy

TrustGov are hosting a half day mini-conference on “The Geography of Political Trust” on April 20th. The event will consist of two 90 minute sessions exploring the topic of trust in governance. Find out more and register here.

Funding Democracy

Community organising platform VocalEyes crowdfunds over £300,000. VocalEyes are also at the heart of the UK’s first Participatory City initiative in Nottingham.

Back in 2018 Luminate made the strategic shift from ‘civic tech’ to ‘civic empowerment’. Amira El-Sayed, Principal at Luminate, provides a useful update this week on their current trajectory and Luminate’s recent decision to be more explicit about their objectives and the outcomes they seek.

Co-production Network for Wales report they have just received a burst of successful funding grants, which means they’re now hiring a new Communications Development Officer.

Democracy Meta

With the dissolution of the Democracy Matters alliance, Titus Alexander is rethinking their strategy and priorities. They list a range of projects they’re interested in working on, with particular focus on working on the ways in which higher education can provision and support civic engagement.

Voicebox Cafes, a project funded by the Government Equalities Office to drive women’s engagement in politics, has a wealth of reusable resources left over from the campaign, notes Roger Wilson of Unite to Reform.

Dr Meakin of the University of Manchester, summarises the ongoing saga of the restoration of the Palace of Westminster amid the release of the new, but practically identical, Strategic Review of the Palace of Westminster Restoration, which endorses a full decant of Parliament into new premises. Despite the risk of fire damage and other factors, Leader of the House, Jacob Rees Mogg MP, is apprehensive to endorse the repeated findings of the 2014, 2016, 2020 reports and the 2018 Bill.

Forward Democracy’s next event, Better Work, is next week on the 8th of April. You can get yourself a ticket here. Besides preparing for the event, Josh Russell is working on youth local elections GOTV, in particular, designing a new GOTV resource website and voter reg flow.

Jonny Will Chambers, Senior Consultant at Koreo, is pushing to see if they can create more work placements as part of the Kickstart scheme. If you are a charity, community business or social enterprise let Jonny know as you might be able to get full funding for roles covering 25 hours per work, as part of the Government’s Kickstart funding scheme. Jonny’s covered quite a bit in their weekly update from new books on deliberative democracy to Larger Us’ first open house gathering; take a look at the extended edition here.

This week, Liz Crosbie, Project Director at RebootGB, is working up a draft pledge for organisations of their Progressive Alliance for the next General Election.

Myf from mySociety notes that TicTec slides, video and notes are now online and unrelatedly, that they’re happy Full Fact are getting ‘campaign-y’.

Local Democracy

Relationships Project are teaming up with Tony Clements, Strategic Director for Economy at Hammersmith and Fulham Council, to produce a range of resources for local authorities including their Kit for Councils - a pack for LAs to support stronger community relationships

Democracy Devolved

In depth analysis of the rocky road to any potential Scottish Referendum.

Monday April 12th, the Centre on Constitutional Change are launching their new book, State & Nation in the United Kingdom: The Fractured Union. The book outlines the key trends and forces playing out in the Union and devolved nations post-Brexit.

With a Cabinet Office-led review of Intergovernmental Relations ongoing, David Torrance, Clerk at the House of Commons, has produced a comprehensive research brief on existing intergovernmental machinery and changes up to and including Brexit.

Supporting Democracy

There’s just two weeks left to apply for Spring Impact’s Scale Accelerator. The 2021 programme includes two routes: an intensive consultancy offering bespoke strategic support and a training programme for leaders.

Asks

Liz Crosbie, Project Director at RebootGB is on the lookout for IT assistance. Email for details.

Active Job Listings across the Democracy Sector

  • Trustees, The Joffe Charitable Trust, Voluntary - Apply by 16th April

https://joffetrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/JCT-Trustee-Terms-of-Reference-Mar21.pdf

  • Director to the Board, Northern Ireland Open Government Network, Voluntary - Deadline N/A

https://www.volunteernow.co.uk/volunteering-opportunities/#/volunteering/5edf7e46dbfe000011898fd6

  • Non-Executive Directors, the3million, Voluntary - Apply by 6th June

https://www.charityjob.co.uk/volunteer-jobs/the3million/non-executive-director/733998?tsId=8

  • Board Member - Treasurer, New Economy Organisers Network, Voluntary - Deadline N/A

https://neweconomyorganisers.org/about/jobs/board-member-treasurer/

  • Board Member - New Economy Expertise, New Economy Organisers Network, Voluntary - Deadline N/A

https://neweconomyorganisers.org/about/jobs/board-member-new-economy-expertise/

  • Finance and Operations Director, People Powered - Global Hub for Participatory Democracy, $70-90k (or equivalent) - Applications reviewed on a rolling basis

https://apply.workable.com/peoplepowered/j/E3243C172D/

  • Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive, Forum for the Future, £32,500 - Apply by 6th April

https://www.forumforthefuture.org/executive-assistant-to-the-chief-executive-job-share

  • Personal Assistant - UK Kickstart job placement scheme, Forum for the Future - Apply by 6th April

https://www.forumforthefuture.org/personal-assistant-pwd-kickstarter-scheme

  • Director of Advocacy and Communication, Involve, £50k - Apply by 12th April

https://www.involve.org.uk/sites/default/files/field/attachemnt/Director%20of%20Advocacy%20and%20Communications%20.pdf

  • Head of Campaigns and Organising, New Economics Foundation, £45,220 - 50,540 - Apply by 5th April

https://neweconomics.org/about/work-with-us/head-of-campaigns-and-organising

  • Communications Development Officer, Co-production Network for Wales, £30,000 - Apply by 18th April

https://copronet.wales/jobs/

  • Campaigns Manager, European Movement, £30-32k - Apply by 6th April

https://www.europeanmovement.co.uk/current_vacancies

  • Local Campaigns Manager, European Movement, £30-31.5k - Apply by 6th April

https://www.europeanmovement.co.uk/current_vacancies

  • Campaigner Contractor (Scotland), Sortition Foundation, From £200/day - Apply ASAP

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/sortitionfoundation/pages/703/attachments/original/1614078024/Scotland_Campaigner_-_Application_Pack_.pdf?1614078024

  • Partnership Director, People Powered - Global Hub for Participatory Democracy, $70-90k (or equivalent) - Applications reviewed on a rolling basis

https://apply.workable.com/peoplepowered/j/A86786CAC0/

  • Communications Manager, People Powered - Global Hub for Participatory Democracy, $60-80k (or equivalent) - Applications reviewed on a rolling basis

https://apply.orkable.com/peoplepowered/j/8ABE3F275A/

  • Senior Communications Manager, Good Governance Institute, £33k - Apply by 16th April

https://www.good-governance.org.uk/senior-communications-officer/

  • COP26 Communications Officer, Wellbeing Economy Alliance, £30k pro rata - Applications open

https://wellbeingeconomy.org/recruiting-now-weall-cop26-communications-officer

  • Digital Officer, Centre for Countering Digital Hate, £35-40k - Apply by 15th April

https://www.counterhate.com/jobs

  • Editorial Assistant, OpenDemocracy, £24,700-26k - Apply by 11th April  

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/job-vacancy-editorial-assistant/

  • Principal Data Scientist, Nesta, £46-£57k - Deadline N/A

https://www.nesta.org.uk/jobs/principal-data-scientist/

  • Delivery Manager, FutureGov, £40-50k - Deadline N/A

https://jobs.lever.co/wearefuturegov/5b6b6efc-a1c2-4852-b781-780fd689d654

  • Head of Content Design, FutureGov, £65k - Apply by 9th April

https://jobs.lever.co/wearefuturegov/0662e9de-a4f1-4fbb-9b64-3e588d9dbd5d

  • Interaction Designer, FutureGov, £35-50k - Apply by 9th April

https://jobs.lever.co/wearefuturegov/00383f12-16c9-4528-a902-c961503bc9e1

  • Events and Communications Assistant, Onward, Salary according to experience - Apply by 6th April

https://www.ukonward.com/events-and-communications/

  • International Finance Holder, Dark Matter Labs, Pay formula on advert - Apply by 8th April

https://democracyhandbook.org.uk/?header=&id=xUgx9tnMQWlClGYE

  • Operations Manager, Center for Countering Digital Hate, £50k - Apply by 15th April

https://www.counterhate.com/jobs

https://www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk/csr/jobs.cgi?jcode=1714530&csource=csalerts

https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/job/internship-programme-2021-22

  • OrgBuilder Coach (Contact), New Economy Organisers Network, £300 per day - Apply by 22nd April

https://neweconomyorganisers.org/about/jobs/orgbuilders-coach/

Unsalaried job listings

  • Business Analyst (Contractor), FutureGov, salary not given - Deadline N/A

https://jobs.lever.co/wearefuturegov/e21e7994-e2e0-40b4-99ec-dd3e59bdbd44

  • Contract Specialist (Part-time), Purpose, salary not given - Deadline N/A

https://www.purpose.com/jobs/#job-id-2109044

That’s all for this week, if you’ve found this useful, please forward it on to your colleagues. They can sign up for these emails here.

We’ve been experimenting with the format of this email and the accompanying meetup, if you have any feedback we’d be glad to hear it.

These documents are open all week. If you can’t make our weekly meetup, you can always drop in to the meetup document of the current week and add to it by going to democracymeetup.org.uk.

See you next time,

James and the Democracy Handbook team

[a]Would be great to discuss!

[b]For the avoidance of doubt IHAV is keen to join :)

[c]Hi Roxana! Great call last week, Josh Russell mentioned there's a whatsapp group for this too?

[d]I'll do this :)

[e]Hi Titus, seems you were way ahead of us. Does the Democracy Handbook match up with what you had in mind? What would you change? I'll check out your doc - I'm sure Joe Mitchell would be interested too!

[f]I'm working on something related - designing a political technology masters degree with UEA

[g]Happy to contribute where we can Titus

[h]Can you expand on what you mean by practical politics?

[i]e sports democracy tool? tell me more!

[j]sorry for missing your date change last week Kyle!

[k]I'd not seen this before, thanks for highlighting, I'll take a look!

[l]Pleasure!

[m]currently open for applicants

[n]Thank you for sharing!

[o]which kind of groups are you looking for?

[p]Anyone with an interest in the topic or data or something - very open to chatting with people, I have few preset ideas!

[q]Thanks for highlight these Rebecca!

[r]Good to see you :)

[s]👋❤️

[t]I'd love to know more [email protected]

[u]Great! Will send you an email :)

[v]Thanks for coming, I really appreciate your support. Most peoples' programmes won't change from week to week so feel free to copy and paste! Different audience each week.

[w]lovely, thanks for sharing Myf!

[x]!!

[y]Me too actually!

[z]Do you think it's worthwhile us following their newsletter/getting a membership?

[aa]I don't know much about them - we were tagged in a tweet as someone thought it looked like the sort of thing mySoc would be interested in. Couldn't hurt to reach out to them to learn more perhaps?

[ab]Tweet: https://twitter.com/Declan_JMN/status/1377197480148922369

[ac]Nancy Platts is great :) look forward to hearing more about this soon

[ad]She is! Yes, lots more to come. We've just launched our new steering committee https://politicsforthemany.co.uk/about/

[ae]Have you seen Cabinet Office have started hiring for the roles? (last week's meetup, got mentioned by Joe Mitchell)

[af]Yes! We're concerned legislation will be coming quite soon

[ag]= anti-voter ID = anti-voter-suppression = pro-voter engagement campaign :)

[ah]I assume you've chatted to Compass?

[ai]They've got a new report out today touching on this I think

[aj]& @[email protected]

[ak]What do you need? What do you use at the moment?

[al]+1 - Wondering whether we can help in any way!

[am]Thanks for sharing Olive, I'll highlight this & add to the handbook

[an]great thanks!

[ao]I assume you've chatted to Compass?

[ap]Yes, very closely engaged with Compass leadership since 2016

[aq]Yes, this is great, I think they (re)launched just last week too

[ar]👍