Each month, we’ll be bringing you a curated look at the latest happenings in the world of digital democracy, with a focus on the fantastic work being done by our customers. Get ready for inspiring stories, key news and legislative updates, and a glimpse at upcoming events you won’t want to miss.

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Customer activity roundup:

  • First up, the Post Office launched an impressive 105 engagement activities in May! One example is this consultation on the accessibility of Nottingham’s new Central Avenue Post Office. Imagine navigating a shop with narrow aisles in a wheelchair, or struggling to read a receipt in poor lighting — these are the types of concerns they want to hear about and address. Even the recent sale of Royal Mail (the Post Office’s delivery partner) hasn’t deterred them from engaging with communities across the UK.

  • The Environment Agency is working hand-in-hand with the public in their latest ‘Supporting Citizen Science’ initiative for healthy freshwater ecosystems. The idea is to encourage people around the country to get involved with data collection — whether that’s measuring river levels, sampling water for pollution indicators, or tracking the abundance and diversity of species that call these waterways home. It’s clear to see why: collaboration between citizens and scientists can only mean better-informed ecological decisions.

  • Meanwhile, Natural Resources Wales has launched a major ‘Working Together Consultation’ on the future of Wales’s River Basin Management Plans, or RBMPs. As they lay the groundwork for the 2027 plans, they’re asking the public how best to present data online — for example, using maps to illustrate the locations of bathing waters, protected habitats, or urban wastewater treatment — and how they prefer to be contacted about upcoming environmental consultations.

  • At the local level, Leicester City Council is revisiting their adult social care workforce strategy with a first-of-its-kind consultation for the city. The council recognises the key role of care workers in all settings — such as agency workers and independent carers — and feels they need to be better supported and rewarded. They’re eager to hear everyone’s feedback on initiatives including showcasing career pathways within social care, advocating for fair compensation, and developing a communications campaign to highlight the sector’s immense value to society.

  • The Australian Department of Health and Aged Care is keen to hear from local communities about their vision for the future of immunisation. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re developing a new National Immunisation Strategy for 2025–2030 and want to hear a diverse range of perspectives — from everyday citizens to healthcare professionals and policymakers. So, if you’ve got thoughts on how to best protect Australians from vaccine-preventable diseases, now’s your chance to have your say!

Industry and legislative news:

LGA Raises Concerns Over Accelerated Planning Service Proposal

The Local Government Association (LGA), representing councils across England and Wales, has submitted its response to the UK government’s consultation on an accelerated planning system. The LGA is highly critical of the proposed 10-week timeframe for major development applications, arguing that it will prioritise speed over quality. It wants a more holistic review of statutory timescales for applications processing — one that acknowledges the complexity of modern planning requirements which have changed significantly since the 1990s. The LGA also reiterated its position that local authorities need more resources to attract planners from the private sector, and that simply uprating fees for planning applications is not enough to reach the government’s targets.

Australia Seeks Public Input on Future Migration Strategy

Australia has set the 2024-2025 Migration Program at 185,000 places, while also announcing a shift to a multi-year planning model for its migration planning efforts. To shape the first four-year cycle, the federal government will be launching a public consultation later this year, inviting input from state and territory governments, industry, unions, and community groups. As well as considering economic and labour force forecasts, it intends to prioritise housing supply as a key factor in shaping longer-term migration policy.

Canadian Government Explores Expanding Use of AI in Public Services

In a recent press release, Canada’s Treasury Board President Anita Anand indicated that she wants to expand the use of artificial-intelligence tools in government. The plan is to develop Canada’s first-ever AI strategy for federal public services; including retraining civil servants, establishing supportive infrastructure, and (crucially) ensuring the ethical implementation of such tools. Roundtable discussions with academia advocated for a human-centric approach to avoid the inherent risks of bias and discrimination.

Upcoming events

Government’s proposed Cyber Security of AI Code of PracticeTuesday 11 June (14.00-15.30)

techUK is hosting a workshop for their members on the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT)’s proposed voluntary Code of Practice on the Cyber Security of Artificial Intelligence.

Find out more

TICTeC by mySociety12th & 13th June

Convening an international mix of researchers, practitioners, policymakers, philanthropists and tech giants to openly and honestly examine, share, and improve the impacts of civic technology. This year’s theme is Climate, AI & Democracy Under Threat.

We’ll be there, will you?