Local councils

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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Weeknote: Local knowledge is key, w/c 20th May 2019

Headlines Project call with Frome Town Council – we’re sharing and discussing various tools and items of reference as we look to design a solution for Frome’s Town Vote. We’ve got a busy two-days in Calderdale! On Thursday we’re working with Calderdale Council to facilitate a co-design workshop with some key stakeholders (including citizens) and on Friday we’re meeting with and sharing the story of Public Square in Calderdale with senior officers and elected members. We’re super excited! Last week… Met with the lead officer at Glasgow City Council who is our main contact for developing our Public Square work.

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Weeknotes: Digital in discovery, w/c 6th May, 2019

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

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Reporting on Public Square, w/c 23/04/19

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

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Read our literature review of digital public engagement

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

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How can we improve local decision making?

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‘

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