How can we make democracy work better? What are some practical improvements that we can put into place? These are questions that the Practical Democracy Podcast hopes to answer.

Last month, Delib director Ben Fowkes braved Storm Dennis and travelled up to Huddersfield to attend Notwestminster 2020. (Remember when catastrophic storms and flooding were the only reasons we couldn’t go outside? ‘Twas a simpler time.)

For those not in the know, Notwestminster is an event that brings people together to create and share new ideas for local democracy. The event ‘aims to turn discussions around local democracy and digital into some practical tools and techniques that we can all use to make democracy work better for us’.

While he was there, Ben managed to get interviews with some of the attendees, and thus the second episode of our democracy podcast was born.

See below for timings and an overview of what each contributor talked about. You can listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or via the embed at the bottom of this page.

0.42 Carl Whistlecraft, Head of Democracy at Kirklees Council and member of the Kirklees Democracy Commission
Carl talks about the Commission’s work and engagement based on places: that is; that what’s more important than Kirklees as a place or council catchment is the individual localities within and their identities, and how having conversations with this patchwork of individual communities informs Kirklees’ policy and budget decisions.

10.50: Kate Grigg, Research Officer at the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CFPS)
Kate discusses the role of the CFPS and the way they work with councils across the UK. She also answers some questions regarding scrutiny itself, shares some thoughts about citizens’ assemblies and what the perfect local authority would look like in terms of governance and accountability.

32.30 Joe Mitchell, from Democracy Club
What’s it like to have a job that, by rights, shouldn’t exist? Democracy Club’s work involves collating information, particularly around elections, that *should* be easy to find – but isn’t. They answer questions like ‘Where do I vote?’ and ‘Who can I vote for?’ Joe discusses the processes and frustrations around Democracy Club’s work – and the importance of machine-readable data.

Grab a pair of headphones and listen below. It’s a good’un.

Check out Episode 1 with Rebecca Rumbul from mySociety