Parliament will debate major constitutional changes to the UK, but most people are not involved nor even aware of what is happening. We encourage people to take part in the consultation by the Local Government Association and All Party Group and get involved in the constitutional Bills going through Parliament (details below). There is a vital educational task to be done for people to understand what is happening and learn how to have say in it.
1. Conversations about the constitution
Members of Democracy Matters are holding events with across Britain about the constitution this autumn: please get in touch if you would like to get involved or take part –
- Manchester 3 Oct, Mechanics Institute, Princes St – with Unlock Democracy and the Northern Citizens’ Convention, on the Cities & Devolution Bill
- Falmouth: 7 Nov, at Exeter University, including Forum Theatre
- Edinburgh: prov. 7-9pm 26 Nov (or 25th) with the WEA, Nicola McEwen and many others, on the Scotland Bill
- Sheffield: with the WEA, university and others, date tbc
- London on a Saturday, end of Nov / early Dec
- Southampton with the university and local groups on weekday evening end of Nov / early Dec
- Norwich – possible event with the university
Events are with the Crick Centre for Political Understanding and the Economic & Social Research Council to deepen public debate about constitutional change.
2. Consultation about the constitution
The events will feed into the inquiry by LGA/ All-Party Parliamentary Group for Reform, Decentralisation and Devolution in the UK: http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/media-releases/-/journal_content/56/10180/7398901/NEWS#sthash.s0g3YFRw.dpuf
The APPG published A Parliament for Reform 2015-20, setting out constitutional issues which need to be addressed in the new Parliament.
A cross-party group of MPs are promoting a Constitutional Convention Bill, including Graham Allen, David Davis, Tim Farron, Zac Goldsmith, Caroline Lucas, Jeremy Corbyn, Jon Cruddas, Mark Durkan, Jeremy Lefroy and Alistair Carmichael: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2015-2016/0010/16010.pdf It is currently going through the Lords as a Private Members Bill tabled by James Purvis: http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2015-16/constitutionalconvention.html
There are also calls for evidence for:
- Proposed English votes for English laws Standing Orders | Procedure Committee | Deadline: Wednesday 26 August 2015
- Lords Constitution Committee investigation into devolution and its impact on the Union: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/constitution-committee/news-parliament-2015/devolution-launch/ written submissions, to arrive no later than 2 October
- The devolution of public finances in the UK | Economic Affairs Committee | Deadline: Friday 21 August
- Costs and benefits of EU membership for the UK’s role in the world: Foreign Affairs Committee
- The Government consultation on the future of the BBC until 8 October 2015: see paper and online response form here. In my view the BBC Review is a Constitutional Issue and should be treated as such – see my blog at: http://www.democracymatters.org.uk/bbc-review-is-a-constitutional-issue/
Other constitutional changes include
- Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill (now going to the Commons)
- The EU referendum
- The nature of the NHS
NHS Citizen aims to give people a voice on healthcare and influence NHS decision making. To get involved visit the NHS Citizen Gather online forum to raise and discuss any healthcare issues: http://gather.nhscitizen.org.uk/
All issues raised before 11th September 2015 may be discussed by NHS leaders and the public at the HNS Assembly in November 2015. Only five issues will be chosen – it could be yours!
Tell your friends, families and social networks: spread the word of NHS Citizen. It is important as many people as possible are able to have a voice about their healthcare system.
3. Get ready for Parliament Week!
This year’s Parliament Week in November will focus on the future of democracy: it’s easy to sign up via their website. This is a great way of involving people in democracy and learning how the system works.
4. Community development and leadership course
Do you know anyone who would like to develop work with communities? London Met is one of the few places offering a degree in Community Development. This three-year programme is for people who want to make a difference. It focuses on social exclusion, voluntary action and empowerment through grassroots participation. The degree combines a study of community work, policy, management and diversity. For details click on the link: http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/courses/undergraduate/2015/community-development-and-leadership—bsc-hons/
Please contact to discuss further: Anne Massey (Senior lecturer) Email firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 020 7133 2759 or Matt Scott (community engagement outreach) email@example.com tel 020 7133 4290
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