England & Wales Democracy, devolution and governance

Audit of Political Engagement – a local perspective


Last night the Hansard Society launched their eighth Audit of Political Engagement – an annual healthcheck on our democratic system and effectiveness of Parliament. Beneath the headline analysis on coalition politics and the Big Society, there’s some useful stuff on interest in local government and desires to get involved in community politics.

– 46% of people feel they have knowledge about how things work locally
– 69% said they were interested in how things work in the local area
– 43% would like to be involved in decision making in the community – of these it was mainlywomen aged 23-34, of a higher social grade and likely to have young children.

The report found that people may get more involved in community politics if they can see a direct benefit for themselves.

That 69% of those surveyed expressed an interest in how things work locally is promising. The question then is how can this interest lead to greater involvement?

The panel, which included Hazel Blears MP, Mark Harper MP and Lord Kirkwood, offered the following answers;

– local government could do more to explain what it is doing
– opportunities for participation and involvement in decision making should then be better advertised
– following initial involvement, authorities must highlight the publics input and demonstrate the difference it made both to the individual and community.

The full report can be downloaded here.