In our first part, we looked at the way people read – and how this can inform how we write. In this post we move on to look at ploys to order information, learning how journalists, storytellers and other communicators use ploys to improve communication Tips from news writing Journalists are trained to write for a wide readership with a variety of reading abilities, who have no reason to read their story at all. As a result, they are taught to write in a particular way that helps them to convey information in concise and simple way. Talk to
Public Square wants to make local democracy easier to understand. As a result, we are learning about how we can use simple language to make communication clearer. In our first blog post on simple language, we look at how people read – and how it can help you to use simple language. Learning to read and understanding The team that writes the Government’s web pages on everything from how to get a passport to what happens in the event of a no-deal Brexit, shares some valuable insights into how people learn to read in the how people read guide.
Headlines: Two days of intensive work with Calderdale Council in Halifax. This involved a stakeholder/citizen co-design workshop on Thursday and some fantastic meetings on Friday. Conversations with councillors in Frome. Last week… We also enjoyed two days in Halifax working with Calderdale Council and citizens on their Public Square project. This included working with community groups to prototype ways to talk about the relationship residents have with Calderdale, the council and the place. We also discussed ways of doing Participatory Budgeting in Frome, in conversation with town councillors. We talked about how to design the process with the wider community and
Headlines Exploring digital tools for decision-making and communicating Public Square Last week… Initial discussion about what our digital approach should be in Calderdale. Thinking about ways to use digital tools in opening up a small grant programme to wider participation. Starting to think about how we talk about Public Square to people who might be interested in our next steps Explored tools and options available to provide a solution to digital decision-making (which isn’t about participatory budgeting) Held the Technical Reference Group meeting – which turned into a useful project-team meeting to think about our journey so far and where
As we’re now starting to work with the four council areas, we’ll be publishing weeknotes to capture what we’re up to and what we’re learning. It’s part of the wider approach we’re using to learn research as we work, and share that learning and thinking publicly. Thanks to Emily Robertson-Knowlton, who shared the blog post format she’s using for the planning permissions project that mySociety is involved in with the Digital Land team at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government. The format is really simple – and allows us to work collectively to publish something quick but (hopefully)
Headlines Working with councils to start discovery phases for our work with them. And this is our first weeknotes! Last week… Finalised semi-annual report for Luminate, having submitted earlier in April. Started detailed discovery for councils, including project plans, briefings and research questions.. Completed draft profiles for each of our councils, situating them along dimensions of local authority variation. Attended the Digital Development Group for Participatory Budgeting in Scotland – shared information about Public Square. Started our weeknotes! This week we will… More work on discovery – including in-person discovery sessions, working through documentation and planning our visit to Calderdale Council
We’re asking members of our advisory groups to write about Public Square and their interest in the programme. First up, Catherine Howe exploring some of the problems with our current democratic system and how Public Square might help to address them. ‘Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…’ (Winston S Churchill, 11 November
In November 2018, we invited people with an interest in local decision making to Manchester for Public Square’s first public event. We wanted to discuss with them how to improve local democracy. The attendees included people from community and voluntary organisations, active citizens, academics, and people working in local government. What we talked about Introducing Public Square The project team from The Democratic Society and mySociety introduced Public Square, describing our vision for the programme. You can see an edited-down version of the slide pack that we showed on the day below. And you can read ‘What is Public Square‘