New workstream - we launch Local Democracy Bytes

LocalGov Digital has announced the launch of Local Democracy Bytes, an online community supporting the redesign of local democractic relationships.

The new Knowledge Hub group, Twitter account and hashtag will launch on 10 December 2013 and is a result of the steering group’s Rewiring Local Democracy work stream.

Steering group vice chair, work stream lead and Head of Governance and Democratic Services for Kirklees Council, Carl Whistlecraft said:

“The Local Government Association’s Rewiring Public Services programme recognises the need to rejuvenate local democracy and redesign the democratic relationship between citizens and their elected representatives.

“Digital should be a catalyst for these new ways of doing democracy and Local Democracy Bytes, and the work of the LocalGov Digital network, aims to support and encourage discussion around this.”

Alongside Local Democracy Bytes the work stream will also:

  • foster new models of local democracy made possible by digital
  • discover examples of digital democracy in the UK and beyond
  • sharing examples of digital democracy across networks for learning and inspiration
  • prototype new ways of doing democracy digitally
  • collaborate and innovate across and outside local government.

The launch of Local Democracy Bytes follows the announcement by Commons Speaker John Bercow that he will chair the first-ever Speaker’s Commission to look at digital democracy and ways to modernise the system to encourage greater participation.

The Commission will consult with experts from Internet giants Google, Facebook and Twitter as well as technology firms Apple and Microsoft to look at options for allowing people to vote in parliamentary elections online.

Blogging about the announcement Carl Whistlecraft wrote:

“As a digital democracy advocate, and a fully paid up member of the local government club, I personally welcome the widening out of the debate.  The bedrock and heart of local government is its democratic mandate and democratic legitimacy.

“The challenges we face in local government, the lessons we are learning and the innovation that is taking place is relevant to the work of the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy.”

In the same blog post Carl pledged:

“The (LocalGov Digital) Steering Group will proactively seek to inform the work of the Commission either directly or as part of public hearings and calls for evidence.”

The full Local Democracy Bytes online community and work stream will be launched as part of the next LocalGov Digital steering group meeting on 10 December 2013.

Sign up to take part in the conversation and share digital democracy on Twitter –http://twitter.com/LDBytes – or follow the hashtag #LDBytes. You will also be able to join the Knowledge Hub community from 10 December – in the meantime take a look at the work stream information here.