England & Wales Communities and society, Democracy, devolution and governance

Notwestminster – growing trust in local democracy 


courtesy Notwestminster

A strong local democracy relies on good relationships. Developing trusting relationships is something that matters for every council officer and councillor, and for the citizens and organisations who we work with every day. That’s why the theme of the Notwestminster 2023 local democracy event on 18th February is all about Trust.

Notwestminster is the free annual event for everyone who is up for the challenge of making our local democracy better. It’s also a growing network of people who give their time and attention to improving our local democracy in places across the UK. Participants include local government officers, councillors, democracy advocates, community activists, young citizens, democracy sector and civic tech organisations, academics and others with an interest – an amazing mix of people who inspire and support each other.

Previous local government participants tell us that they have used their learning from Notwestminster events to create new citizen engagement activities, to develop their professional learning and progress their careers, and to make the case for change in their council. They have also made some valuable new connections with their peers and partner organisations.

“I find the Notwestminster events fascinating each and every year I attend. It’s an incredibly insightful, interesting and engaging way of developing a deeper and more meaningful understanding of local democracy, place-based working and community leadership – how it happens, what makes things work and importantly why these things matter. Every year I come away enthused and excited to find creative ways of helping communities make positive change for themselves. I really recommend it to all local authority employees everywhere.” – Luc Bride, Active Citizens and Places Officer

courtesy Notwestminster

Notwestminster: In Democracy We Trust is on Saturday 18th February 2023 at the University of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire. The event features interactive workshops, quick-fire talks, creative activities, conversations and lots of opportunities to connect. You can choose from a wide range of sessions on the day, based on your area of interest, for example:

  • Governance – join local government expert Dave Burn to discuss the decision making challenges for councils and get top tips for good governance
  • Active Citizens – learn how councils can become effective enablers of active citizenship with New Citizenship Project co-founder Jon Alexander
  • Decision Making – hear how councils and others are involving citizens in decision making, try out Legislative Theatre, and explore trust in petitions
  • Elections – learn how to improve voter engagement for young citizens
  • Community Engagement – explore lots of ways of growing trust and supporting people to work together in local neighbourhoods
  • Transformation – work with transformation experts from the TPXimpact team
  • Communications and Digital – learn how people are working with public data and AI, or help plan for a local media that truly serves local democracy

You can also enjoy bursts of inspiration from our Lightning Speakers on the day, with topics including Kirklees Council’s pioneering Democracy Friendly Schools programme, effective digital tools for connecting councils and communities, and how officers at Camden Council have been learning to use Imagination Activism.

If you’re up for the challenge of renewing your local democracy – wherever you are – please join in. Notwestminster is a free event and everyone is welcome to take part.

To find out more about Notwestminster visit: We are Notwestminster or follow @Notwestminster on twitter – or you can email [email protected]

Diane Sims is Notwestminster Co-organiser and is also part of the Democracy team at Kirklees Council.



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