Democracy is always in the making: a never-ending project that requires constant rethinking and development. There are many ways of understanding and practicing democracy, and this article is concerned with those that put citizens at the heart of democratic life.
We need politics to mean more than party politics, elections and media rituals; and democracy to mean more than representative democracy. Reclaiming and recasting politics and democracy is a core challenge for participatory democrats. The key argument is that citizen participation can reinvigorate democratic life by infusing diversity, experience and knowledge into institutional decision making. The question is what kind of participation.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
This WWS policy briefing reviews how participatory budgeting (PB) has become central to advancing three policy agendas in Scotland – public service reform, community empowerment and social justice – and examines the requirements to mainstream PB including the co-production of new systems, new mindsets and ways of working. This is an open access resource, you can read online or download the PDF.
The Commission on Parliamentary Reform presented its report to the Scottish Parliament on 20th June 2017. The report is available HERE. Since November 2016 the Commission has met with and considered the views of over twelve hundred people from across Scotland including MSPs and former MSPs, academics, the third sector and members of the public. The report makes a series of recommendations which collectively will strengthen the Parliament’s scrutiny role and encourage wider engagement and democratic innovation.
On 26 October 2016, the independent Commission on Parliamentary Reform was established by the Presiding Officer to look at how the Scottish Parliament can engage better with the people of Scotland and how its work can be improved to deliver better scrutiny.
These are some notes I’ve made to guide my input to the Commission’s evidence session on 25th November 2016. They outline ideas, questions and arguments to inform democratic innovation at the Scottish Parliament.
Click here so see more information about the Commission, how it works and how to contribute.
What Works Scotland and the Scottish Community Development Centre worked together with a range of partners to undertake a full review and refresh of the original standards published in 2005.
The purpose of this review was to ensure that the Standards are ‘fit for purpose’ in the current context with a focus on strengthening citizen participation and community engagement, particularly in the light of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.
Read more about the review and download the Standards HERE.
Photo by Milin
In this project, the focus of the Citizens’ Juries discussions will be health inequalities and potential policy responses to these inequalities. We are organising three Citizens’ Juries in Summer 2016, one in Glasgow, one in Liverpool and one in Manchester. Each jury will last two days and will take place in July 2016.
For more information about the project please see our website where we will also post findings and publications in due course.
By Oliver Escobar, with photos from Emilio Pérez.Published by Edinburgh Beltane (UK Beacons for Public Engagement).Free PDF HERE.
The rhetoric of dialogue and deliberation is sometimes adopted rather uncritically in academic, organisational, and policy circles. Too often that rhetoric is deployed with little understanding of the variety of principles and practices enacted in dialogic and/or deliberative communication. How can dialogue and deliberation be conceptualized and distinguished from other forms of communication? What does it take to facilitate these forms of communication in practice? What ideas about democracy underpin them? What kind of changes in academic, popular and policy-making cultures does it call for?
This booklet seeks to speak to people involved in creating public forums for meaningful conversations. In particular, I’ve taken as imaginary readers those practitioners and students that I’ve had the fortune to work with. If, with pragmatist and deliberative thinkers, we agree that communication is the very fabric of democratic life, then analysing and improving the quality of communication in the public sphere becomes critical. Understanding dialogic and deliberative communication helps us to interrogate and improve our public engagement work, and the ways in which we can develop collective capacity to deal with complex public issues.