Public Square

Democracy relies on people taking part, yet local government and citizens don’t always manage to hear each other or work together effectively. Building upon good practice that is out there, how can participation be improved at the local level, making it easier for more people to be involved in the decisions that affect their lives? This is what we're exploring through the Public Square project.

Over the next two years, Public Square will be running a programme of research and action to push forwards participation in local government across the UK. We will be working with councils, communities and citizens across the country to learn what’s needed to take participation further, and we’ll be prototyping openly available tools, techniques and approaches to fill these needs - building upon what already exists as far as possible.

We know there are lots of people already working in this area - from those working on digital transformation with local government through to activists and community organisations - and we want to help join up this work as far as possible, ensure any work we do is informed by insights already out there, and to help all of us to learn from what others are doing.

We also want to share what we learn as widely as possible, and we will be sharing our thinking and creating opportunities on regular blog posts, and inviting people who care about local democracy to join us at events across the UK. The involvement of this wider community will shape what gets learnt and developed, and will ensure that any learning and outputs reach those who can put them to use.

If you are an expert on democracy, civic tech, government transformation or service design then please join us and share your thinking!

If you are working in local government or are an elected representative, we’d love to hear from you, and would love to hear your experiences, the work done to date, and challenges you are facing. We’re looking for 4-5 councils to work closely with over the next year - so please drop us a line if this might of interest to you.

And we also want to hear from citizens and community and voluntary sector organisations, to ensure that what we’re hearing isn’t just led by local government, and is shaped with the best interests of these individuals and groups. We’re aware that is may be challenging for small organisations and individuals to attend events - especially financially - so we’ll do our best to make sure events are streamed online where appropriate, and have some money put aside to support attendance here.

Want to be involved in helping to think about how democracy can be improved at a local level? Join us by dropping us an email, signing up to our mailing list, or following us on Twitter.

Join us for our kick off event and help influence our work. We will be addressing the problems and challenges we share, finding and building on the opportunities and learning from the great work that is already going on here in the UK and farther afield.

Please register yourself, or recommend a colleague, to contribute experience and understanding of delivering or participating in local democracy.