After all the build-up it’s time to introduce the first of Public Square’s council partners: Calderdale Council. What is happening in Calderdale? Over the years, the work of councils has changed. We live in very different societies today than we have in the past. Every council has an implicit ‘social contract’ with its residents – an unspoken understanding of what each other’s roles and responsibilities are. But as times have changed it’s time we looked more closely at what citizens and government can expect from each other, and thought about how both partners can best work together to create the
Introduction A challenge for Public Square is to understand how innovation in involving communities in decision making can go from isolated examples in different places – and with different labels – to a whole-system change. On Saturday 16 February Mel Stevens and I held a workshop at the Notwestminster event in Huddersfield where we posed this question to a wide group of people interested in local democracy. We introduced Public Square then asked a series of questions about decision-making. Here’s a quick download of the conversations we had and some reflection about what we can take forward to the programme.
To help build a knowledge base for Public Square’s work, mySociety’s Head of Research Rebecca Rumbul has written a literature review examining current academic research around the question of how digital tools can assist the creation of a meaningful, participative and collaborative environment. This review will help us to explore how digital tools are already addressing the barriers to citizen participation in decision making – helping us to think about how we use digital engagement as part of our work with our council partners. The key conclusions are: Bureaucratic and institutional structures will exert pressure upon new digital platforms that