Democracy Club is a non-party-political group of volunteers. At the next election, we want to hold candidates to account, and stimulate public engagement.
We do this by emailing people small, easily achievable tasks. These small tasks will add up to hugely useful resources.
These are the questions our volunteers are helping each other answer:
- Who are the candidates in my constituency for the next election? What are they saying in the media, and what are other people saying about them? (in collaboration with YourNextMP)
- What do they think about issues that matter to me? (in collaboration with TheyWorkForYou)
- What are they saying on leaflets they post through the door? How is what they're saying on leaflets different from what they're saying elsewhere? (in collaboration with The Straight Choice).
We're not part of any organisation and have no agenda other than increasing transparency and civic participation. We don't even know exactly how this is going to work out. But along the way, we hope build up a picture of what people care about across the country; connect with other people who care about the state of politics in the UK; and have some fun.
Despite widespread disillusionment with politics and politicians, British people are not apathetic. We'd like to make things better, but what's the easiest way to get started? Democracy Club exists to help answer this question.
A bit of background
We're a bunch of computer and politics geeks. We've been involved in mySociety projects in the past. Even if you don't know mySociety, you might well have used one of their amazing websites, like WriteToThem, TheyWorkForYou, and WhatDoTheyKnow. We've found that there's a big desire for people to get involved in projects like this, but until now, they could only do so if they were a programmer.
We've wanted to build some kind of database of candidates' opinions for some time. One problem is that there's not even a central database of candidates to start with. We realised that we could only build this system with the help of volunteers, and thus Democracy Club was born.
Democracy Club is evolving into a platform for helping people collaborate on larger goals by splitting them into smaller, often local chunks. After the General Election, we're thinking about expanding into other areas of civic participation.
The idea for Democracy Club was conceived by Tom Steinberg. Seb Bacon kicked off the development, then Tom Dunham and Tim Green joined him on the core development team soon after. We have also had generous and genius help from mySociety in the form of Francis Irving, who has developed our local-issues-gathering code, and Tom, who is helping co-ordinate the TheyWorkForYou project and organising our local meetups. Recently, David Woods joined the team and is currently working on our Facebook presence.
Why not join us and help out? Our software is open source, which means it's free and available for anyone to copy and reuse. If you're a programmer and would like to help us build the rest of the website, check out our Google Code page and join our mailing list. Maybe you've got experience as a web designer or in testing? Or perhaps you have other ideas about how we could use the Democracy Club platform? However you'd like to help, please drop us a line on the mailing list.
What are the terms and conditions relating to my personal data on this site?
By signing up you consent to receive a maximum of two messages per week in total from Democracy Club. The data controller for this site is Seb Bacon, and your data will not be shared with any other third party without your consent. Your data will be used only for purposes relating to helping democracy-related organisations like mySociety and The Straight Choice to carry out candidate, politician and election based volunteering tasks. Your data will never be sold or used for commercial purposes, and it will not be disclosed to anyone unless you choose the option to share your address with fellow constituents. Your data will be used and shared within the core team to carry out maintenance and other tasks relating to our software.
If you do choose this option then anyone who signs up with a postcode somewhere within your constituency will be able to see your name and email address, but not postcode. The purpose of this is so that volunteers have an easy and low-tech way of talking together about how to divide up volunteering tasks. Note - we cannot verify that someone is a fellow constituent other than by them putting in a postcode, so if someone puts in a fake postcode and then discovers your email address, they may be able to use it for abusive purposes. Seb Bacon and other volunteers disclaim any responsibility for what happens if you choose to share your email like this, as it is, for a moderately clever programmer, essentially public information. In short, don't tick the share option if it is extremely important to you that your name and email address remain private. We, mySociety and TheStraightChoice also disclaim anything bad that happens to you whilst you're engaged in the volunteer tasks which get sent out. Picking up leaflets is dangerous, and we won't pay for your bad back or paper cuts.