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Brexit — what data and tools does the UK need?


dog at a cat-flap

We’ve not talked much about Brexit goings-on on this blog, but to make up for it — and to start considering the potential for democratic engagement in the process, here’s long-time Democracy Clubber, Richard Pope.

The UK may be about to copy and paste a significant number of EU regulations into UK law and edit lots of Statutory Instruments where they refer to EU processes and institutions.

These will affect every part of our society. Critical things like which medicines can be sold, how we protect children against dangerous toys and sanctions against terrorist organisations.

All this needs to be done at speed.

Making Brexit the success it needs to be will require a good understanding by citizens, central and devolved governments, journalists, civil servants, and civil society organisations of what powers are granted through legislation to whom, and where the specific risks and opportunities are.

In short, we probably need better data and better tools.

So, how might we use technology to do some of the following:

  • Make it easier for people, particularly campaign groups, civil servants and parliamentarians, navigate the corpus of legislation which will be copied into UK law
  • Get a better understanding of specific areas of society individual EU regulations might affect if copied into UK law
  • Highlight specific regulations that might be of interest to campaign groups or would benefit from journalists writing a story about them
  • Make it easier for the public, civil servants and campaign groups to publicly highlight the regulations where they see the biggest opportunities and risks
  • Identify which of the newly repatriated items of legislation the public think could be handed to ministers, which to parliament and which to devolved administrations.

Democracy Club has experience in rapidly prototyping new tools and building comprehensive and accurate datasets — we’re keen to hear from anyone who is interested in a project like this.

Funding organisations - if you think any of this sounds interesting, please get in touch.

Journalists, MPs, civil servants and campaign groups - please get in touch, we need to understand your needs.

Designers and technologists - if you have some time to contribute - please also get in touch.

Photo credit: Simon Powell

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