A new Working Group for the Kirklees Democracy Commission are overseeing our practical work to grow a stronger local democracy. Councillors from the different political groups in Kirklees are part of the group, and they will be working closely with council officers, our partners and local citizens.
The first meeting of the group is on Tuesday 26th June 2018 from 2pm and you can follow the discussions via live webcast and twitter.
Our progress so far
Since publishing our landmark “Growing a stronger local democracy” report, we’ve already made good progress with a number of the Democracy Commission’s recommendations. Importantly, we’re working in a way that is in-keeping with the key principles adopted by the Commission, and we’re encouraging more people to get involved in this way of working. For example:
Everything starts with the citizen
We’ve tried out a number of activities in direct response to specific needs identified by our citizens, including:
- a live and interactive public Kirklees Question Time event with local leaders
- a series of “A Day in the Life of a Councillor” videos to help citizens understand different aspects of the councillor role
- new activities to help our young citizens learn more about local democracy (20 different schools have taken part)
- electoral outreach activities with schools and colleges throughout Kirklees, along with the University of Huddersfield
Working in the open
We’re continuing to encourage more open ways of working and we’re particularly looking for new opportunities to use digital and social media to increase democratic engagement. For example, we have already extended the use of our webcasting technology for interactive public events, national partnership events, and Q and A sessions for our staff.
Our network is growing. We worked with 15 different partners to deliver an extended programme of events for Local Democracy Week 2017. We’re co-ordinating the Vote 100 in Kirklees network, in collaboration with the University of Huddersfield, and we’re part of networks to celebrate the 150th anniversaries of the boroughs of Huddersfield and Batley. We are also working with NCS, Third Sector Leaders and Democracy Club. We’re keen to hear from organisations who want to get involved.
We’re using the evidence that the Democracy Commission gathered to redesign the way we do things. For example, we’ve developed staff briefings and “Working in a Political Environment” workshops to help our staff understand and value the importance of the councillor role. This is in direct response to what we learned from staff and councillors as part of our evidence gathering process.
You can see more details of our progress so far in this update we gave to the Corporate Scrutiny Panel on 19th April 2018:
What happens next?
Our practical work will now develop at greater pace, with the Working Group making sure that councillors are at the heart of our activities. The participating councillors will help to prioritise our projects, champion our work to grow a stronger local democracy, test things out from a councillor perspective and keep the political groups in Kirklees informed and engaged in our work.
If you have questions at any time, please email us at: