Public Square

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

Public Square is running a two-year 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. We’ll be prototyping openly available tools, techniques and approaches to fill these needs - building on what already exists as far as possible.

We know lots of people already work 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, ensure any work we do is informed by existing insights, and help all of us learn from what others are doing.

We want to share what we learn as widely as possible so others can put the learning to good use. We will be creating opportunities to engage with this work and inviting people to join in at events across the UK. The involvement of the wider community will shape what gets learned 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!

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

We want to hear from citizens and community and voluntary sector organisations, to ensure 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.

blog post

15th May 2019

Weeknote: Planning Co-Design, w/c 13th May 2019

Headlines Designing a Co-design workshop with Calderdale Council Pulling together information about Participatory Budgeting and approaches to online voting for Frome Getting clear our approach to discovery and co-design Last week… We are moving ever closer to a co-design workshop in Calderdale next week, which will bring community stakeholders together with the council to help plan a wide-ranging conversation this summer about the relationship between residents and the council. Last week we spent time designing the workshop together with Calderdale Council’s Neighbourhoods and Cohesion Manager. We want to help our partner councils out, by providing inspiration about new approaches. In

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