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

Viewpoint: Notwestminster – citizens building a stronger local democracy


Photo credit: Anthony McKeown

Notwestminster, the annual event for local democracy enthusiasts, experiences its fifth regeneration, “Citizens Assemble”, on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th February 2019, writes Spencer Wilson.

Wish that our democracy was in finer fettle? If we want to assemble a stronger local democracy, we all need to work together as citizens to help create it. Notwestminster is about finding the people, ideas and energy we need, so that we can use our skills and experiences for a common purpose. Together we can improve our local democracy.

We think that our local citizens are the mightiest heroes in our own corner of the Earth. So we aren’t waiting for someone else to fly in and fix our democracy. We are using our own superpowers for civic good and encouraging others to do the same. Everyone who cares about the place where they live has some of those powers.

If you’re up for the challenge, please join us for two days of workshops, quick-fire talks, practical activities, conversations and inspiration at The Media Centre in Huddersfield. Notwestminster is a free event and everyone is welcome to take part, so bring along your superpowers of knowledge, experience, enthusiasm, openness and the willingness to listen to others and figure things out together.

The Notwestminster main event on Saturday 16th February 2019 includes participant-led workshops, lightning talks, creative activities and lots of opportunities for making contact with others who are interested in in local democracy, citizen engagement, open data and civic tech. Participants are welcome to pitch a local democracy workshop idea.

We’re holding a Democracy Maker Day where anyone who is already doing (or who wants to do) something practical to improve our local democracy can work together with others in our network. This year’s Democracy Maker Day is jointly hosted by Involve and the Notwestminster network. We’ll be exploring how citizens can have a voice in local issues through “mini publics” such as Citizens’ Assemblies and Citizens’ Juries.

The special Notwestminster PechaKucha Night on Friday 15th February will feature a series of fun and informative, quick-fire presentations from members of the Notwestminster network and our friends.

To book your free tickets for each event please visit:

PechaKucha Night tickets will be available nearer the time.

To find out more about Notwestminster visit: We are Notwestminster Or follow @Notwestminster on twitter.

Spencer Wilson is Group Support & Development Officer at Kirklees Council.