2018 was an incredibly turbulent year for UK politics, and 2019 looks set to continue in a very similar vein. Involve has been saying for some time that we need to start paying much closer attention to our democratic health. A diet of conflict and tribalism does not make for a happy and healthy country.

We’re on a strict regime of participatory and deliberative democracy here at Involve. Below are a few of the things we've planned to build the UK’s democratic muscle in 2019.

Let's get to it!

Tim Hughes, Director

citizens' assembly members

Designing a Citizens’ Convention on UK Democracy

Recent years have laid bare some of the shortcomings of our democratic system. Other countries, from Iceland to Mongolia, facing similar challenges have turned to citizens to review their governing institutions and propose reforms.

In 2019, we’ll be working with Graham Allen (ex Nottingham North MP and chair of the Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee), colleagues at King’s College London and other partners to scope out and work to establish a two year Citizens’ Convention on UK Democracy to review how the UK is governed.

Campaigning for deliberative democracy

There’s growing interest in the role deliberative democracy can play in the UK to overcome polarisation and resolve challenging issues. In 2018, we worked with two Select Committees to establish the first citizens’ assembly commissioned by the UK Parliament. And the last month has seen growing calls for a citizens’ assembly to address the Brexit deadlock.

In 2019, we’ll be working with the RSA and other partners to launch a campaign for deliberative democracy to make the case for embedding deliberation in our democratic structures.

Piloting citizens’ assemblies in local government

Local governments across the country are facing a lot of challenging issues, while also dealing with shrinking budgets and declining public trust. Citizens’ assemblies - along with other deliberative methods - have significant potential to help solve challenging local issues and give residents a say over the decisions that affect them.

In 2019, we’ll be working with the Democratic Society, mySociety and the RSA to support the local authorities taking part in the Innovation in Democracy Programme. The programme, established by the UK Government, will work with 8 to 10 local authorities to open up a policy decision to citizen deliberation through citizens’ assemblies.

Get involved!

We want you to be part of our journey in 2019.

Join us next month in Huddersfield for the Notwestminster conference where we’ll be leading the Democracy Maker Day on enhancing local democracy with deliberative democracy.

Don’t worry if you cannot make it - there will be many more opportunities to get involved this year!