There shall be a duty to promote democracy


  • A duty to promote democratic understanding and participation would go some way to ensuring greater equality of influence by citizens. The previous Labour government introduced this duty, but civil servants interpreted it rather bureaucratically and it was never put into force so that the Coalition promptly repealed it.


This is another way of making politics more accessible and inclusive. Helena Kennedy’s Power Inquiry prosed “Democracy hubs” as independent local contact point for advice, information, education and support for people to take part in democratic decision-making. A network of local agencies could form a hub by sign-posting existing support for people to take part, have a say and influence decisions. A hub could have many access points through local agencies such as cafes, health centres, libraries, supermarkets and schools, with a resource centre in a volunteer bureau, community venue, adult education centre or local shops.




Parliamentary Outreach





Members of a local Democracy Hub would:


  1. Encourage people to understand how the system works and get involved through Citizens’ Days, Democracy Week, Speakers’ Corners, election hustings, festivals and outreachas wellas adult, further and higher education courses and workshops.

  2. Promote opportunities to have a voice, including elections, public forums, campaigns, pressure groups and civic roles of school governor, magistrate, health forum, local councillor, mayor, MP etc.

  3. Show people how to use democratic tools such as Councillor or MP surgeries, petitions,, Freedom of Information,etc;

  4. Provide independent information, advice and support for people who want to complain, campaign, stand for election or get involved in a public issue or institution;

  5. Connect agencies which support participation in politics, including adult and community education providers, campaign training and support services, Civic Societies, community associations, Parliamentary Outreach, trade associations, unions and voluntary sector infrastructure bodies.

Some areas have elements of a democracy hub under different names, although they do not do everything suggested here. At national level Parliamentary Outreach has some of these roles in relation to Parliament.

We employ lots of people to help others set up local business and learn enterprise skills: why not a few people to help people make politics work for them.

The case for putting it in the Constitution is the same as requiring people to learn how to drive before going on the role: the provision of roads requires the ability to drive safely. I don't suggest citizenship tests as a condition of voting, but non-partisan championing and support for participation would go some way to ensuring that all citizens have some meaningful access to the  Constitution, which they would not at present.

Edward Jones Apr 11, 2015

Now we've entered the refining phase, how do you think this idea could be refined to a more concise proposition?

  Please continue to vote for/against ideas and feel free to change you original vote.

Users tagged:

Titus Alexander Apr 17, 2015

 Hi Ed,

The proposal is simply "There shall be a duty to promote democracy". The rest of the text above is explanation. The clause in the constitution could add "by education institutions and independent non-partisan agencies at a local and national level"


Tom Austin Apr 15, 2015

As an aside:

Sorry for the short notice. Anybody in London tomorrow who has an interest in Direct Democracy. A group of 'enthusiasts' - 10 of us at the moment, will be meeting in Westminster (borough) to discuss Direct Democracy and we would be happy to meet you, if you've a mind to come along.

  We are to meet this Thursday 16th April at 7.30pm at The Marquis of Grandy (upstairs) in Westminster.( )   This is just a thought.

Tom Austin Apr 15, 2015

Further to 'the aside' above. one of the 'enthusiasts' mentioned is this chap...


Tom Sellors from:

"Our principles.

Ascollate is our expression of the democratic ideal. A system of one person, one vote, where our users seize the power to frame the debate, and the wisdom of crowds is collated and analysed to make sense of our world. This is achieved by basing a complex issue around a simple question, allowing us to group the answers and ideas of thousands of people, explore our demographic differences and clearly sort the different sides of a debate.

If you are interested to deeply understand the balance of opinion, if you are willing to engage with new ways of thinking and if you share our passion for direct democracy, then we invite you to join us!

The Ascollate Team"