Ensuring equality and working with communities
Using local democracy to engage residents
Kirklees Council, Newham Council
Newham Council has launched a programme of Citizen’s Assemblies, which bring residents together to discuss local issues and areas of concern and develop solutions. Citizen’s Assemblies are aimed at introducing greater local accountability to the council’s work, engaging local residents and actively involving them in the council’s decision-making. Newham has held 30 Citizens’ Assemblies to date, which aim to enhance local democracy and enable local people to help shape their local areas. Citizen’s Assemblies have been held in every ward in Newham and a full programme of regular assemblies and engagement is being delivered across the borough.
To improve public engagement, Kirklees Council have embarked on a programme of work to redesign local democracy. The council now has a new approach to citizen engagement, based on dialogue around neighbourhoods, villages and towns instead of consultation. There are regular Question Time events where residents can put their questions to councillors, and there are video guides available to explain council meetings. There has been a focus on ensuring that young residents have more opportunities to learn about democracy and have contact with councillors than in the past.