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What's in a club?


We’re six weeks in. We’re halfway through being incubated. Cracks in the egg are starting to appear, something is hatching…


This is not the view from Somerset House, this is the rather lovely looking New Quay, in Ceredigion. That’s the latest marvellous council to open up their polling station and district data to us. Don’t be shy! We’re going to start cold-calling soon…

We’re hatching a plan…

Last week we outlined the three areas that actually make up Democracy Club. We’ve delved a bit further into those this week.

This is where we’d especially like your help. In the breakdown below, one of the most unknown elements is the ‘club’ part of Democracy Club. We know that it’s something people join to take part in non-partisan actions to make democracy better. But that’s about all we know so far. So, good person of the internet, reading this blogpost, you’re obviously quite interested in democracy - if we were to develop the club further, what would you want from it?

Is there stuff that you’ve wanted to do around democracy - in your area or nationally - that you found too hard? Or that you couldn’t get the critical mass for? Whether online or offline?

Would you want to do stuff on your own, or collaborate with others in your constituency or even ward? What matters about democracy to you? Are there particular problems you would like to help solve?

Ping us some comments via the comments thing below - or tweet @democlub.

1. Democracy Club

Volunteers for democracy.”

We want people to feel empowered to do stuff in their community (whether that’s local or national) to make democracy work better. That might be getting some information from a local council and popping that into the database at EveryElection.

We think there are a lot of people out there who do care about this stuff - and want to help in a non-partisan way. We think this bit could be funded by donations or philanthropic grants.

2. Data for Democracy

Or, ‘the democracy pipes’.

This is the bit that serves institutions that need data to make their products or services better.

Those institutions might include: media organisations who want to build helpful web apps for their readers/users (as Google built a search widget for the General Election last year); charitable institutions whose members are asking for help (as NUS Wales’ students want to know where to vote, or Citizens Advice Bureau customers want information on who they can vote for); even government institutions, for whom one central body that aggregates, cleans and maintains access to data would save thousands of hours of civil servants’ time. All these institutions will hopefully pay for that data service. There’s also room for bespoke consultancy projects here.

3. Who Can I Vote For?

The one-stop shop.”

This is the public-facing aspect. There’s no single place voters can go to find out when their next election is, who they can vote for, how they can keep in touch, volunteer, and so on. When we did a pretty basic version of something like this for the GE2015, a million people came and used it. So let’s have a crack at something a bit more permanent, with more opportunities for longer-term connections to be made. Let’s bring politics closer to people. And let’s make it easy, citizen-centric, and perhaps even fun.

We’d love your thoughts on any of this - especially on the ‘club’ bit.

Have you tried EveryElection yet?

We’re making progress - it gets quite addictive. It’s amazing to think that we can’t currently tell people if there’s a local election where they are. But with your help…


Joe forgot to introduce another team last week. For this, he feels bad. To make up for it, here’s one of the most ambitious teams in the cohort, who are planning on revolutionising dental health.

Introducing…PlaqueChecker - check your dental health via your smartphone. Boom. It might just be that Joe is terrified of the dentist, but he really thinks Hawaa and Gina, two utterly charming biomedics, are on to something. Also, they’re vlogging. We feel old.

Next week

Coming soon is a beta version of the magic May 2016 candidate crowdsourcer. We think there’s about 12,000 people to get details for - some easier than others - so can’t wait to get started. Something not-too-polished might be about in time for next week’s blog.


Photo credit: Charles D P Miller (CC-BY-NC 2.0)

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