Democracy Bulletin, 9th June 2021
Fortnightly news, jobs, grants and gossip from the democracy sector, brought to you by James Moulding and Molly Hudson of The Centre for Democracy. Read by 250+ democracy organisations. We read everyone’s newsletters & research so you don’t have to. If you want us to cover yours, let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
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- all upcoming events from across the sector (20 in June) add your event
- all current job adverts (24) add your vacancy
- grants and paid fellowships (50+) add your grant
- Involve announce Democracy Network with £350,000 from Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust
- 2023 UK constituency boundaries changes announced by Boundary Commission for England
- How to do a referendum on Irish unification new research from academic consortium
- 2021 Local Election debriefs and retrospectives from across the UK
- Jobs from Full Fact, Compass, Sortition Foundation, mySociety, Democratic Society, and more
Involve announces new Network for Democracy
The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust (JRRT) and Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) have awarded Involve £350,000 to establish a network for the democracy sector over the next three years. Last year’s Networking for Democracy report, commissioned by JRRT and produced by The Centre for Democracy’s Joe Mitchell, found that establishing a network to support better connections within and outside the democracy sector was a priority. Outgoing Director Tim Hughes will act as interim chair of the new network until the new Involve CEO Sarah Castell assumes the post in the coming months. We look forward to working with them!
Higher Ground Labs publish Political Technology Landscape Report
Interviewing 50+ expert technologists, practitioners and campaigners across the political tech space, the report details trends, opportunities and learnings. Whilst focused on the US, the approaches and findings have the potential for translation in a UK/European context.
Boundary Commission for England reports on changes
The number of constituencies in England will rise from 533 to 543, at the expense of Scotland (-2) and Wales (-8). The UK-wide rejig will resize constituencies to average populations of 73,400 registered voters. The boundary map is planned for completion by 2023. Welsh and Scottish boundary commissions due to report next month.
Constitution Unit Conference on Constitutional Reform
Co-organised by the Constitution Unit, the Dept of Politics & IR at the University of Oxford and UK in a Changing Europe (UKICE), the conference will take place on the 17th and 18th of June. The conference will bring together policy makers, academic experts and politicians to discuss what progress has been made and what lies ahead — click here to register.
Compass + Unlock Democracy plan to push Labour on democratic reform
The long term project aims to shift Labour to a stronger position on constitutional and democratic reform by the time of the next election, reports Frances Foley, Deputy Director at Compass. Compass is hiring for a new Operations Officer — check it out, deadline June 18th.
Integrity & Transparency
Open Government Network working to co-create the UK’s next National Action Plan for Open Government
Kevin Keith, Chair of the Open Government Network, is working to bring together civil society organisations to work with civil servants and co-create the UK’s next National Action Plan for Open Government, as part of the UK’s membership of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). Earlier this year, the UK Government was placed under review by the OGP. Help shape the UK’s policies on transparency.
How to do a referendum on Irish unification
The Constitution Unit leads an international consortium of academics to research how to conduct future referendums on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland.
Electoral Integrity Bill and the Online Safety Bill
Fair Vote UK are developing a strategy around these bills. They’re pulling together an organisation-level survey, mapping which organisations are working on the bills, and at what level. If you’re working on these, contact Director email@example.com
mySociety event on how to use transparency laws in campaigns
Open strategizing at The National Lottery
Gemma Cossins notes how people at The National Lottery and other funders seem to be thinking out loud a lot more than usual.
The Politics Project run well attended Post-Election Debrief
Partnering with the UK Democracy Fund, ERS Cymru and Democracy Classroom, more than thirty organisations came together to share their election experiences, some of which are covered in this bulletin, including experiments with paying young people for election content creation and the first 16 & 17 year old ‘booster’ poll sample. You can view the notes and slides from the event here.
Acorn experiments with boosting renter voter turnout
Tom Scott at Acorn ran digital election hustings and tested different types of adverts on renters to boost voting turnout throughout the pre-election period, in collaboration with a team of researchers from LSE and Kings. We look forward to seeing the results of the RCT when they’re validated and will publish the results in a future issue of this Bulletin.
House of Commons Library publish briefing on the recent metro-mayoral elections
Elise Uberoi, Statistics Researcher at the House of Commons Library, has run the numbers on the recent combined authorities elections: “Labour candidates won five out of the seven combined authority (metro-)mayor elections in May 2021, with the Conservative candidates winning the remaining two. Labour mayors now govern combined authorities covering more than 8.5 million people and Conservative mayors govern areas covering more than 3.6 million people. The Green Party came third in all five elections they contested, ahead of the Liberal Democrats. In three elections, the winning candidate won more than 50% of the first preference votes. The other elections went to the second preference votes round. Tracy Brabin was elected mayor of West Yorkshire, the first woman to hold a metro-mayor position.”
Polish Migrants Organise for Change break outreach records during May elections
There’s good reason for POMOC to celebrate, they campaigned in more cities, brokered dozens of partnerships and taught more political education workshops than ever before. The POMOC community even crowdsourced the first bilingual open source handbook for the 2021 elections!
Devolved Democracy & Local Government
Chloe Smith to answer questions on government strategy for the Union
Chloe Smith, as Minister of State in the Cabinet Office with responsibility for the Constitution and Devolution, will be answering questions from Akash Paun, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government, on the government’s strategy for the Union in Wales and Scotland following the recent elections. You can sign up here.
Request: list of climate-focused councillors or council officers
mySociety is planning a new climate programme aimed at local government, to offer them useful data and tech. Can you help Myf Nixon contact climate-focused councillors or council officers?
The Local Authority Podcast
FutureGov are teaming up with Local Government Chronicle to produce a new podcast bringing together leaders from the sector to explore the most pressing topics and challenges to LAs. First episode arrives in the next few weeks, stay tuned.
A timeline of UK community development
The Local Trust brought in social historian David Boyle to develop this interactive timeline tracking the history of community through more than 300 events that have shaped our collective social organism over the last century, from the Blitz to the pandemic.
Democracy & The Media
EHRC rules UK government violated freedom of the press through mass spying programme on journalists
The ruling was the result of an eight-year landmark privacy case brought by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and human rights orgs. The government and GCHQ must now seek independent permission prior to accessing confidential journalistic material, the court ruled. GCHQ acted illegally for years, the court said, and would never have come to light without Edward Snowden’s actions.
Substack awards cash to local independent newsletters
Joe Mitchell, Programme Manager at Public Interest News Foundation, finds it interesting to see Substack using its revenues to help boost civic reporting. The Manchester Mill is an example of one of the local publishers benefiting from the award.
Votes for Schools polls school children
Lizzy Lewis and the Votes for Schools team polled more than 21,000 school children on the impact of local elections, here are their results. Their next poll will survey 100,000 school children on climate.
Political Literacy Day
Danielle Vaughan, Campaign Coordinator at Shout Out UK, is currently working on making Political Literacy Day a reality on November 4th. We’re excited to hear more!
Course: What Does My Political Future Look Like?
Elect Her’s course, specifically created for BAME women, will take place on 14th and 21st June, with the first session earlier this week. The course is for women who strive to be more politically active and want to understand how they can make that a reality. There will be a second run of the course on 6th, 13th and 20th July. Register here.
Experimenting with paying young people for campaign contributions
During the 2021 elections Raise Your Voice (RYV), funded by the UK Democracy Fund, worked to amplify the voices of young people in Wales, educating and empowering them about the Senedd Election. RYV paid young people to create digital content on a range of topics, from calling for improved political education to sharing the experiences of young people of colour — take a look at their spoken word, podcasts and blogs.
First parallel Senedd election for young people aged 11–15
Children’s Commissioner for Wales’ Project Vote ran the large-scale parallel mock Senedd election, with voting in 36 out of 40 Welsh constituencies. More than 1 in 20 young people took part, 59% of which said they were more likely to engage in future elections when they’re old enough.
Welsh Election Study run first ever booster sample of 16–17 year olds
Jac Larner and the team at the Welsh Election Study polled over 4,000 people prior to and after the 2021 Senedd election, including a booster sample of over 250 16 & 17 year olds. Among other findings, the study found that those in predominantly Welsh speaking schools or youth groups were much more likely to have discussed the election than those predominantly speaking English in similar settings. View the findings here.
Mandate Democracy looks to expand to the UK
Mandate Democracy (MD) is a US based non profit focused on voter education and empowerment with strong international links. The MD team are keen to offer their resources, tools and technology and build partnerships with UK based organisations. Contact Hope, Head of UK Operations.
Democracy Club does Biscuit Politics
Democracy Club have released their biscuit poll of polls. According to their data encompassing 1500 2021 election candidate’s preferred biscuits, custard creams would win in a FPTP biscuit election, but if the election were conducted by PR, a coalition of many biscuit types would be inevitable, most likely led by the combined varieties of digestives (14.3%) or hobnobs (14.1%). Kate Seary is also leaving the Democracy Club team after 6 months as their Devolved Elections Assistant, for a full time role with the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales.
Inspiring: a day in the life of Liz Ward, Director of Programmes at Stonewall
Liz talks about her journey to one of the most influential equality charities in the UK.
Active Job Listings across the Democracy Sector
- Apply by 10 June: Communication and Campaigns Manager at Fawcett Society (£37.5k)
- Apply by 11 June: Media Manager at Liberty (£40k-£48k)
Jobs with upcoming deadlines
- Open Deadline: Board Member — Treasurer at New Economy Organisers Network (Voluntary)
- Open Deadline: Board Member — New Economy Expertise at New Economy Organisers Network (Voluntary)
- Open Deadline: Opportunities Development Coordinator at Shout Out UK (£18,720)
- Apply by 27 June: Community Engagement and Participation Manager at FutureGov (£40–49k)
- Open Deadline: Campaign Coordinator at Shout Out UK (£18,720)
- Apply ASAP: Campaigner Contractor (Scotland) at Sortition Foundation (From £200/day)
- Apply by 20 June: Campaigns Adviser at Digital Action (£34,000)
- Open Deadline: Education Coordinator at Shout Out UK (£18,720)
- Open Deadline: COP26 Communications Officer at Wellbeing Economy Alliance (£30k pro rata)
- Apply by 21 June: Outreach and Networks Coordinator, Climate Programme at mySociety (£38k -£43k)
- Open Deadline: Business Data Manager at The Democratic Society (£37–41k)
- Apply by 18 June: Operations Officer at Compass (£23–25k)
- Apply by 22 June: Press & Media Manager at Full Fact (£37–42k)
- Apply by 4 July: Creative Design and Digital Marketing Specialist at College Green Group (£30k-£45k)
- Open Deadline: Scotland Country Manager at The Democratic Society (£47k)
- Apply by 17 June: Senior Project Officer at National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (£29,515 — £33,199)
- Apply by 18 June: Sales Lead Generator at VocalEyes Democracy CIC (£20,080 pro rata)
Unsalaried job listings
- Open Deadline: Business Analyst (Contractor) at FutureGov (salary not given)
- Open Deadline: Contract Specialist (Part-time) at Purpose (salary not given)
Other paid opportunities
- Big Local are looking for delivery partners. Could you be one of the organisations they’re looking for to help deliver two new projects, their Inspire 2022 Spirit of 2012 programme and the development of a space for communities to reflect and remember on what has been lost in the last year.
- Josh Russell is building a prototype news aggregation platform to be used by people researching the impact of government policies. They’re looking for people with cloud dev skills (Python, Node, etc, on Google Cloud / AWS), scaling db skills (graphQL, noSQL, etc), and can build a web admin interface for searching etc, likely using React — for more information, get in touch with Josh here or on their website here.
- Titus Alexander at Democracy Matters is on the lookout for someone to turn their plans for a democracy gateway into reality. Send him an email if you’re interested or pass on the information to someone who might be able to help.
We’ve been experimenting with the format of this bulletin and the accompanying meetup, if you have any feedback we’d be glad to hear it.
If you can’t make our weekly meetup, you can always drop in to the meetup document of the current fortnight and add to it by going to democracymeetup.org.uk.
See you next time,
James, Molly, and The Centre for Democracy team