William Eichler 12 April 2016

Citizens want more say in devolution, report finds

‘Citizens want stronger devolution with more public involvement.’ This is one of the conclusions of the final Democracy Matters report which will be officially launched tomorrow.

The document, entitled Democracy Matters: Lessons from the 2015 Citizens’ Assemblies on English Devolution, shows strong support for constitutional change—in particular, for devolution—but stresses citizens should have more of a say in the process.

Last October and November, Democracy Matters, a group of academics, and the Electoral Reform Society, organised two ‘Citizens’ Assemblies’ in Southampton and Sheffield.

The two assemblies both had 45 members each, but represented two different models. The participants in the Sheffield assembly were all members of the public, whereas the Southampton assembly was constituted from 30 members of the public and 15 local politicians.

Professor Matthew Flinders, principal investigator for the project, said at the time: ‘This is a huge opportunity to feed the views of the public into the policy-making process and to explore the potential of new democratic methods to reinvigorate British politics.’

A major conclusion of this final report, which brings together the lessons of the assemblies, is that ‘citizens are ready, willing and able to take part in participatory and deliberative forms of democracy.’

‘Citizens want stronger devolution with more public involvement,’ it argues. ‘They want to feel part of “the revolution in devolution” and not simply to have change imposed upon them.’

A number of high-profile politicians—including Dominic Grieve MP, Suzanne Evans and Caroline Lucas MP—will attend the parliamentary launch tomorrow.

Commenting on Democracy Matters, Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: ‘People are increasingly fed up with Britain’s archaic and undemocratic political system.

‘It’s clear that our constitution needs updating - but that process must not be the sole responsibility of people in power.

‘This project is hugely exciting because it aims to devolve power to local communities, and allow people a real say on the issues which affect their lives.’

Katie Ghose, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: ‘It is fantastic to see politicians from all the major parties come together to address urgent need to involve the public in the huge democratic changes taking place in the UK.

‘English devolution is the biggest shakeup to local democracy for decades – yet voters have been left out of the conversation, unable to shape how their areas are changing.

‘A top-down model for devolution simply won’t last, so this report and event will be central to changing the debate and finally letting the public in.’

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Director of Safeguarding and Support

Swindon Borough Council
£95,171 (spot salary)
Improving outcomes for our children and young people in Swindon... Swindon, Wiltshire
Recuriter: Swindon Borough Council

Principal Social Worker / Care Manager - Northampton Central, North and East

West Northamptonshire Council
£40316 - £43675
What will you be doing? As a champion of social work, you’ll lead by example, using your skills to encourage a culture of innovation, reflection and learning within the service, using practice evaluations and learning reviews to inform this work. The ex Northampton
Recuriter: West Northamptonshire Council

Data Officer - 18 month Fixed Term Contract

Essex County Council
£22361 - £24527 per annum + + 26 Days Leave & Defined Benefit Pension
Data OfficerFixed Term - 18 months duration, Full Time - 37 Hours Per WeekUp to £24,527 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Customer Service Assistant

Essex County Council
Up to £22361 per annum
Customer Service AssistantPermanent, Part TimeUp to £22,361 per annum (FTE)Location
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Customer Service Assistant

Essex County Council
Up to £22361 per annum
Customer Service AssistantPermanent, Full TimeUp to £22,361 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council
Linkedin Banner

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.