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Learning how to grow a stronger local democracy


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These are some of the key findings and recommendations from the Kirklees Democracy Commission's landmark report, "Growing a stronger local democracy, from the ground up". This presentation was shared by Cllr Cathy Scott on Friday 30th June 2017 at a special event at the University of Huddersfield to celebrate the publication of our report.

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Learning how to grow a stronger local democracy

  1. 1. Learning how to grow a stronger local democracy Cllr Cathy Scott, Commissioner
  2. 2. Active citizens in civic society • Civic society includes community groups, businesses, press & MPs. • We need a life-long approach to active citizenship. • We are strongly aware of our responsibility to young citizens.
  3. 3. Some of our recommendations about active citizens: • Make Active Citizenship a shared strategic priority – and make this the basis for a new democratic relationship. • Create pathways to involve young citizens in civic society – stronger links between councillors and schools, mentoring, a young councillor apprenticeship scheme & more…
  4. 4. Local democracy in a networked society • We all need to be part of the conversation, to be connected. • Citizens are not customers. • Can we have real time democracy? • Digital tools help ordinary citizens to get their voices heard.
  5. 5. Some of our recommendations about networks: • Make our democratic content valuable and relevant – shareable, interesting and accessible for our citizens. • Develop a democratic digital literacy pilot – and support councillors with digital skills and confidence.
  6. 6. Councillors • Our citizens value councillors but don’t full understand what they do. • Citizens want more direct contact with their local councillors. • It’s a changing and challenging role. • Where are our future councillors?
  7. 7. Some of our recommendations about councillors: • Promote the councillor role to help citizens understand – use real life experiences to show what councillors achieve. • Redesign the way that we support councillors – put more focus on working with citizens in their wards.
  8. 8. Decision-making • Conversations, not consultations. • One size does not fit all – citizens want to have a menu of options. • Share the how, not just the what. • We should say “we’re open for business and you’re welcome”.
  9. 9. Some of our recommendations about decision-making: • Revisit our approach to consultation, pilot new methods – put more emphasis on timely, selective citizen engagement. • Review our approach to the way we make decisions – it has to be more open, engaging and citizen-focussed.
  10. 10. Elections • Elections are an area of growth. • Local elections are important. • Registration is a vital first step. • Voters want to know who their candidates are & where they stand. • Votes at 16.
  11. 11. Some of our recommendations about elections: • Collaborate with schools and University on registration – we must support young people to register to vote. • Improve awareness and access to voter information – share data and try out new approaches for local elections.
  12. 12. Regional devolution • Local identity matters. • Citizens need to know more. • Councillors should lead the dialogue. • We need democratic accountability. • We need the different levels of our democracy to connect.
  13. 13. Some of our recommendations about devolution: • National government should provide clearer information – about the purpose of (and processes for) devolution. • We should address the issue of local identity – so that we can strengthen our voice in regional devolution.
  14. 14. It’s all about what happens next "This is the start of a long term thing. Change doesn’t happen like magic. We’ll have to try things to make democracy better. Kirklees Youth Council is here to help.” - Kirklees Youth Councillor