Our story so far – action research in local democracy…Year One

We are excited to share reports from our Year One work with Calderdale Metropolitan Borough and Frome Town Council. Our prototyping reports document our design process, and what was learnt from prototyping some new approaches to citizen participation. And the discovery reports outline the needs we were responding to and the context in each place. If you want to follow the whole story of the first year, including our other two councils, there is also a full programme report.

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What’s happening next for Public Square: Innovating Local Democracy and sharing our learning

You might have noticed that we have recently stopped producing our week notes. That’s because our first year of work with councils and communities has more or less come to an end. Instead, most of our time is now being spent on reflecting on what we’ve learnt and on our first-year report. The team are beavering away making sure all the learning from the programme is recorded and considered – so it’s a busy time but a quieter, more reflective one. We are also working on another very exciting development.  In Manchester 27-28th January 2019, we’ll be presenting our first

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Fortnightly Updates: Reporting on Our Work, w/c 4th November

Headlines Much of what we are doing at the moment is creating reports of what we’ve been doing over the last year. We’ve also released two blog posts, linked below, about improving communication. Last fortnight… Wrote a first draft discovery report for our work in Frome, pulling together what we learned about the context of the town and history of the People’s Budget programme there.  Shared some options around digital tools for participation with our partners at Calderdale. This fortnight we will… Be working on a prototyping report describing all the things we tried together with Frome Town Council to

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‘Week’notes: Shortlisting and Voting in Frome, w/c 7th October

We’ve decided to switch to fortnightly updates (“sprint notes”?), and are hoping that this will give us more time to communicate about what we are doing in other formats alongside these notes. So this update (and those that follow) describes what we’ve been up to for the last two weeks, and what’s coming up this week and next one. Headlines Ran a shortlisting event for Frome’s Participatory Budgeting process. Go live on Frome’s online vote. Pulling together reports for Frome and Calderdale. Last fortnight… A few weekends back we ran a shortlisting event in Frome. This event was designed to

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Weeknotes: People Participate in Frome, w/c 16th  September 2019

Headlines This week, we’re really busy getting everything prepared for a Participatory Budgeting event in Frome with Frome Town Council on Sunday.  We’re starting to work with Glasgow to look at a narrative for the project, to ensure it makes sense and is relatable to people from the community, council officers, and elected members for example. Last week… We developed plans for our Frome workshop Continued to agree plans with Glasgow City Council This week we will… Carry out a Participatory Budgeting event this Sunday in Frome. This will bring a randomly selected pool of citizen volunteers together to shortlist

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Weeknotes: Training, Shortlisting and Demographics, w/c 2nd September 2019

Headlines Preparing for PB shortlisting event in Frome Training workshop in Calderdale Last week… We carried out a training workshop in Calderdale to help prepare those who will be delivering conversations with residents. Working through the stages of plan, do, and learn/review. This included thinking about listening skills and identifying any unmet learning needs. We are now at a stage where we’ll be less heavily involved as the council start to put these conversations in action. Though as these conversations happen we’ll be hearing reflections about how well or not the prototypes have worked – we’ve created a learning and

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Weeknotes: Training Workshop Prep, w/c 19th August 2019

Headlines Getting materials and facilitation plans finalised for a training workshop in Calderdale. Checking everything is ready for the launch of a Your Priorities site in Frome. Doing research on previous online participatory budgeting projects in Frome. Last week… We were helping Frome set up a Your Priorities site. This week we will… Be preparing for a workshop in Calderdale to train those who will be conducting conversations with residents. Including getting materials and facilitation guides ready. Be checking everything is ready for the launch of Frome’s Your Priorities site. Be looking into the performance of Frome’s previous People’s Budget

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Weeknotes: Scoping in Glasgow, w/c 5th August 2019

Headlines Scoping out how we can work with Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life. Comms planning with Calderdale. Planning a training workshop in Calderdale. Last week… Spent two days in Glasgow with Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life to scope out our Public Square project together. We also developed a community engagement plan and look forward to further developing our plans and sharing more about our work there shortly!  Met with the comms team from Calderdale Council to discuss plans for a website supporting their Calderdale Conversations. Next stage is mocking up a version of the site. Drew up plans

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Weeknotes: Capturing Learning in Calderdale, w/c 29th July 2019

Headlines Creating resources for capturing learning and reflections in Calderdale. Planning communications and web presence for Calderdale Conversations. Scoping conversations in Glasgow. Last week… We pulled the prototypes and engagement plan developed through our co-design workshops in Calderdale into a form for the council to start building upon and putting into use. We also created a content capture form for staff and volunteers to record what’s heard in Calderdale Conversations across the borough. And created a learning and reflections form for those using prototypes to capture learning about how well these prototypes work and how they can be improved on.

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Weeknotes: Preparing for Glasgow Scoping Session, w/c 22nd July 2019

Headlines We’re getting prepared for an intensive two days working in Glasgow with Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life to develop their programme of work with Public Square – looking at scoping, decision-mapping, community engagement planning and more!  Last week… We’ve been capturing outputs from our second Calderdale co-design workshop, ready for sharing back. Continuing to develop plans for the PB process in Frome, particularly thinking about online ideation and how best to sift and develop unformed ideas. This week we will… Meet with Dr Nikki Soo, Research Associate at the Crick Centre to discuss opportunities for sharing some of

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