UK Democracy Bulletin

Highlights

  • Elections Bill coalition delivers petitions to Downing Street, publish must-read briefing
  • Involve appoints Jessie Joe Jacobs as new Democracy Network Coordinator
  • Peoples Newsroom launches experimental community newsroom in Swansea
  • Powering Up Unlock Democracy and Compass launch new campaign
  • Democracy Jobs lots of exciting new roles up for grabs across the sector

Elections Bill

Elections Bill Coalition Delivers Petitions to Downing Street
On Tuesday 5th representatives from the Democracy Defence Coalition delivered a myriad of petitions and a civil society sign-on letter to Downing Street opposing the introduction of Voter ID. They were also able to meet with Angela Rayner to reinforce the importance of the issue. The coalition is now in full swing, with 61 organisations participating. They hold weekly “office hours” for any orgs interested in the bill and are running an array of joint campaigns across the range of issues raised by the bill. If you’d like to get on the weekly digest email list or attend the office hours please drop Matt Gallagher at Fair Vote UK an email at matt@fairvote.uk.

Democracy Sector

Involve appoints Coordinator of new Democracy Network
Jessie Joe Jacobs is a social entrepreneur with 18 years experience of network development, campaign and project management, fundraising and campaigning for a diversity of organisations and causes. As Regional Director of the Stronger In campaign, Director of the Northern Inclusion Forum and Campaigns Officer at the TUC, Jessie brings a wealth of experience and passion to the role. Jessie will begin their new role at the end of the September and we look forward to more updates about the development of the new network. Welcome Jessie!

  • An intersectional approach must be taken, that Disabled people are not a homogenous group and that a Disabled person may have multiple protected characteristics.
  • That efforts cannot be down to political parties alone, the Government must take the lead in measures to remove barriers for Disabled people.
  • Through ensuring Disabled women, and men, have a seat at the decision-making table, we will improve governance and change society for the better.

Democratic Reform

Compass and Unlock Democracy team up to launch new campaign Powering Up
Powering Up aims to secure public and political support for a programme of wide democratic reform ahead of the next general election. The work follows four phases, identifying a package of reforms commanding broad support, building a network of influencers, creating public awareness and securing commitments from political parties. The project is set to run for a year initially and is funded by Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust.

Integrity & Transparency

The House of Commons Library has released new briefing papers on the Ministerial Code and Online Harms
Researchers Chris Rhodes and Hazel Armstrong publish a new briefing paper looking at the UK Ministerial Code and the role of the Independent Adviser. John Woodhouse and Maria Lalic have released new papers on Regulating Online Harms and a reading list of the public reactions to the draft Online Safety Bill.

Elections

Sharon Graham has been elected as Unite’s General Secretary
After an intense battle to replace the outgoing Len McLuskey, Sharon Graham has come out on top. Graham is the first woman to hold the position in the history of the union and has previously served as the union’s executive officer and as head of its organising and leverage department. Their election marks a return to industrial struggle to advance the union’s cause, over access to politicians and lobbying.

Devolved Democracy & Local Government

UK Government softens rigid rejection of Scottish referendum demands
Signalling a partial climbdown, the Scotland Secretary Alistair Jack MP states if Scotland is able to maintain support for a referendum above 60% for an extended period, then “I would acknowledge that there was a desire for a referendum.” Current polling has support for a referendum at around 51%. Previously the UK Government had outright rejected calls for a second independence referendum with the PM stating such suggestions as “irresponsible and reckless.”

Democracy & Media

People’s Newsroom launches
Megan Lucero and the team at The People’s Newsroom celebrated their launch event today. The new initiative will begin on an experimental basis in Swansea, providing hands-on startup support to design innovative journalism initiatives and invest in community newsroom leaders traditionally marginalised by the media.

Funding Democracy

Less than one month to apply for major democracy funding opportunity
Open Society Foundations (OSF) has launched a call for proposals to fund a piece of participatory design work, with quite a short deadline (7 October). They’re looking for a UK-based non-profit organisation to lead a group of partners/stakeholders to develop a participatory process to design a new approach to community safety and policing resource allocation. The purpose is to design a participatory and multi-stakeholder (including police) process, where the process itself educates the public and other actors about policing and community safety budgets and outcomes. The process will result in the design of a participatory approach to resource allocation (such as participatory budgeting or other community decision-making models), which can be trialled in a UK location(s). Some at OSF are apparently worried that the language of the call, and the size of the budget ($300k) may be off-putting for many orgs, and has asked for it to be shared widely.

And Finally…

New report from Involve and Institute for Government
The report calls for greater government engagement with the public in designing net zero policies.

Featured Upcoming Events

The Centre for Democracy maintains a full database of events from across the democracy sector.

Active Job Listings across the Democracy Sector

View the full database of upcoming job listings here — have we missed any? Add them via this form.

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