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February 25, 2015

Democracy is new zeitgeist

Interest in the extent to which citizens and communities can have their voice heard more clearly within the democratic process has never been greater.  It’s a measure of how quickly this has grown that something being referred to as a Democratic Sector is starting to be emerge – a loose collection of organisations and individuals interested in building a better democracy.  Worth mentioning two upcoming events that reflect this new zeitgeist. Planning Democracy’s  Planning : The People’s Perspective and What Works Scotland’s Democratic Sector Day.


Information about two forthcoming conferences which promote a stronger voice for citizens and communities within the democratic process:

What Works Scotland is delighted to invite you to Democratic Sector Day – an encounter between people working in the public participation sector in Scotland.

Who can participate? Anyone working in the Democratic Sector in Scotland. That is, organisations, networks and practitioners whose job is to foster and/or enable public participation in policy and decision making, and community engagement in public service design and delivery. This may include practitioners from the public, third and private sector.

What is the purpose of the event?

DSD is a day for participation practitioners to share ideas, projects and ambitions, and hopefully develop a better understanding of this ‘community of practice’ in Scotland. The objectives are:

1. Improve our understanding of the Democratic Sector in Scotland: Who is doing what and how?

2. Discover opportunities for collaboration regarding research and practice

What will happen at the event?

The event will be hands-on and interactive:

 In the morning… there are structured table conversations to generate key themes for the rest of the day.

In the afternoon… participants decide what issues matter most to them and work in groups, before reporting back in a closing plenary session.

The design of the event borrows elements from formats such as Open Space, Unconference and Dialogue Circles in order to be as interactive and productive as possible.

Who funds the event?

What Works Scotland

Edinburgh University’s Academy of Government

Attendance is free, please book here

Contact about the organisation of the event: Simon Kershaw and about the contents of the event: Oliver Escobar

Partners collaborating in planning DSD :

Angus Hardie (Scottish Community Alliance), Fiona Savage (FS Associates), Juliet Swann and Willie Sullivan (Electoral Reform Society Scotland), Tim Hughes and Sarah Allan (Involve), Alistair Stoddart (Democratic Society Scotland), Mark Langdon (CLD Standards Council), Susan Pettie (So Say Scotland), Fiona Garven (Scottish Community Development Centre), George Lamb (Disability History Scotland), Irene McAra-McWilliam (Glasgow School of Art), Ian Turner, Doreen Grove, Kathleen Glazik and Katy Betchley (Scottish Government), Bronagh Gallagher (West and Central Voluntary Sector Network + Art of Hosting), Sarah Drummond (Snook).

What Works Scotland is hosting this because…WWS is a 3-year project with the remit of Using evidence to transform public services for all of Scotland’s communities to flourish. Our work is guided by the key principles from the Christie Commission, and a key area is public participation and community engagement. Within this broad area we are planning various collaborative research projects and Knowledge Exchange events. Democratic Sector Day falls within the latter. You can see more info about WWS here:

Invitation to participate in Democratic Sector Day, 10am-4.30pm, 5th March 2015, The South Hall at Pollock Halls, 18 Holyrood Park Road, Edinburgh EH16 5AY

BOOK NOW: click here 


‘Planning : The People’s Perspective’ a Conference for the Less Heard Voice in Planning

 Planning Democracy campaign for a fairer more inclusive planning system in Scotland. We have designed this conference especially with communities groups and community councillors in mind. In our experience most conferences about planning lack a strong community voice – this conference will be different. Planning Democracy’s management committee includes three community councillors who together have over 70 years’ experience between them. They have advised and helped shape the conference programme to ensure you get the most out of it.

 At the conference you will

– hear three community members speak about their experience of the planning system

– find out about Equal Rights of Appeal and how it can help improve the planning experience for people

– find out how Equal Rights of Appeal operates in Ireland from leading professor, Geraint Ellis from Queen’s University, Belfast

– meet others and exchange experience

– learn from experts on a variety of planning topics, including Public Inquiries and planning law

– work with us to campaign for more inclusive planning

 Cost: £10 community groups and individuals, £20 professionals

For more information see our website, reply to this email or ring 0781 387 4805.

Book your place today. We have a travel fund available to help people who might struggle to pay transport costs.

When: Saturday 25th April 2015, 10 – 4.30pm

Where: Central Glasgow, Trades Hall

Book online today. Click here

Please do share the conference details with others!