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Going with
the grain
Why democracy
needs to fit with
modern life
About Citizens Advice
Context
▲ Figure 1: Turnout at General Elections, by year.
Source: ukpolitical.info
▲ Figure 2: Turnout since 1992, by age...
Context
▲ Figure 3: Percentage who trust governments to place the needs of
the nation above the interests of their own pol...
Context
What is democratic engagement?
Having influence over the
decisions and services that
affect your life everyday.
● The majority of the British public
feel a sense of duty to give back
and make a difference
● Govt. data on volunteering ...
● Citizens don't think the political
classes reflect their values and
behaviours
● Attitudes get more negative the
further...
The public thinks democracy demands too much
◀ Figure 7: Percentage who selected
different suggested ways to make it
easie...
People are frustrated by poor democratic processes:
○ the financial security bias
● 35 per cent of people are not
confiden...
People are frustrated by poor democratic processes:
○ the assertive bias
“I have not got enough confidence to get involved...
Democracy that goes with the grain
We need a democracy that is open and responsive to the values and
experiences of the pu...
Design principles in practice: public service complaints
● Complaints systems are democratic
processes
● Public service co...
Design principles in practice: public service complaints
▲ Figure 11: All complaint tweets directed @DVLA over the course ...
Presented by: Temi Ogunye
Date: 13th February 2016
Going with the Grain: Why democracy needs to fit with modern life - A #Notwestminster 2016 Lightning talk by Temi Ogunye
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Going with the Grain: Why democracy needs to fit with modern life - A #Notwestminster 2016 Lightning talk by Temi Ogunye

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Our democratic deficit is unlikely to be solved if we continue to think of democracy simply in terms of what goes on in Westminster… our focus should be on improving people’s experiences of democracy everyday. Temi Ogunye from Citizens Advice gave this Lightning talk at Notwestminster 2016, Saturday 13th February in Huddersfield. Find out more at: www.notwestminster.org.uk

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Going with the Grain: Why democracy needs to fit with modern life - A #Notwestminster 2016 Lightning talk by Temi Ogunye

  1. 1. Going with the grain Why democracy needs to fit with modern life
  2. 2. About Citizens Advice
  3. 3. Context ▲ Figure 1: Turnout at General Elections, by year. Source: ukpolitical.info ▲ Figure 2: Turnout since 1992, by age. Source: Ipsos Mori, How Britain Voted
  4. 4. Context ▲ Figure 3: Percentage who trust governments to place the needs of the nation above the interests of their own political party. Source: British Social Attitudes 32 ▲ Figure 4: Percentage who think politicians are merely out for themselves, their party, or try to do the best for the county. Source: YouGov / University of Southampton
  5. 5. Context
  6. 6. What is democratic engagement? Having influence over the decisions and services that affect your life everyday.
  7. 7. ● The majority of the British public feel a sense of duty to give back and make a difference ● Govt. data on volunteering and charitable giving reinforces this picture of rich civic participation So what explains disengagement? British public are committed to making a difference ▲ Figure 5: Activities participated in in the last 3 months
  8. 8. ● Citizens don't think the political classes reflect their values and behaviours ● Attitudes get more negative the further away decision making lies, and influence is a key ● Democratic processes stand out as in need of improvement Democratic processes are out of sync with people’s lives ▲Figure 6: Percentage who feel optimistic about different areas of their life over the next 5-10 years
  9. 9. The public thinks democracy demands too much ◀ Figure 7: Percentage who selected different suggested ways to make it easier for them to get involved and influence decisions.
  10. 10. People are frustrated by poor democratic processes: ○ the financial security bias ● 35 per cent of people are not confident about their financial security over the next 5-10 years ● They are poorly served by democratic processes, have a lower sense of political efficacy, and lack confidence in their future political representation Does democratic engagement demand too much ‘headspace’? ▲ Figure 8: Percentage who agree with different statements about democratic processes
  11. 11. People are frustrated by poor democratic processes: ○ the assertive bias “I have not got enough confidence to get involved. I feel that this is far too above me to get involved with” “I don't understand politics enough to feel confident in voicing my opinions” “I cannot always express my opinions easily or clearly and sometimes feel that I am having my opinions swept under the carpet” ● 41 per cent of people self define as assertive ● The 59 per cent of the population that does not self define as assertive lacks influence, and participate less and less often ● The assertive are more likely to think that processes are working well
  12. 12. Democracy that goes with the grain We need a democracy that is open and responsive to the values and experiences of the public everyday, and a politics that goes with the grain of modern life. Design principles: ● Information: All public information should be published and presented so that it is as easily accessible and understandable as possible; ● Accessibility: Democratic processes and channels for influence should be co-located in the places where people spend time; and ● Experience: User experience and journey should be at the centre of all democratic processes and channels for influence.
  13. 13. Design principles in practice: public service complaints ● Complaints systems are democratic processes ● Public service complaints issues are rising at Citizens Advice ● People don't complain about poor public service & the feedback of specific groups is being missed ● Aggregating complaints data, including from informal channels such as social media, can provide important insight into potential service improvement ▲ Figure 9: Trend in public service complaints queries, Q4 2011-12 to Q3 2015-16
  14. 14. Design principles in practice: public service complaints ▲ Figure 11: All complaint tweets directed @DVLA over the course of a year, and those specifically relating to the introduction of the UK flag on driving licences
  15. 15. Presented by: Temi Ogunye Date: 13th February 2016

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