The Innovation in Democracy Programme (IiDP) supported three local authorities to involve citizens in decision-making through innovative models of deliberative democracy. The three local authorities selected to join the programme were:
- Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council - Future of town centres
- Greater Cambridge Partnership (Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council) - Improving public transport and tackling congestion
- Test Valley Borough Council - Future vitality of town centres
The Peer Learning Network was set up to share learning across the programme and to help maximise the legacy of the three citizens’ assemblies delivered through this work.
The Peer Learning Network
The core network was made up of participants from the three participating authorities, There have also been opportunities for other councils to be part of the network by joining one of the workshops or attending the Innovating Local Democracy Conference in January 2020.
During the course of the programme, the Peer Learning Network was convened for four workshops and a conference. At these events, the local authorities were able to propose discussion topics, sense-check their ideas and collectively work together to solve any problems they were facing.
The workshops covered the following areas:
- Peer learning workshop 1: Introductions, preliminary learning and planning for the rest of the programme
- Peer learning workshop 2: Bringing councillors on board (featuring councillors from each of the participating authorities).
- Peer learning workshop 3: Disseminating the learning from the programme (featuring representatives from other councils from across the UK)
- Peer learning workshop 4: Evaluating the programme (co-hosted with Renaisi, the programme evaluator)
Details of the conference:
- The Innovating Local Democracy Conference was held at the People's History Museum in Manchester in January 2020.
- It was attended by 150 local authority staff and practitioners from across the UK and further afield.
- All the conference materials including live recordings of presentations and notes from discussions are available here
On top of these in-person sessions, an online ‘action learning’ set was formed to discuss how to communicate citizens’ assemblies. These discussions resulted in the ‘Telling the story of an assembly’ and ‘Communicating the recommendations of an assembly’ guides.
We hope to be able to continue supporting this network beyond the Innovation in Democracy Programme. Please get in touch if you would be interested to find out more or join the network - email [email protected] for more information.