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Citizenship and civic engagement web forum

The House of Lords has set up a Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement. We've asked for formal evidence, but we also want to know how you feel we could all work together to make a better society.

  • Why do so many groups in society appear to feel disengaged and 'left behind'? How could they be supported and encouraged to participate more in public life?
  • Are there specific values or beliefs that are important within British society?
  • What role might citizenship education play in terms of promoting shared values and the skills necessary to engage in society?
  • What are the main barriers to civic engagement and – more importantly – how might they be removed?
  • Where are the examples of successful innovation, positive role models or new forms of civic engagement?

You don't have to try and answer all of these questions and please feel free to pose questions that you think are important and deserve discussion. The Committee is committed to trying to understand how people from different communities, backgrounds and parts of the UK feel about these issues. Comments will be used to inform the Committee's thinking on this issue.

This forum is pre-moderated and comments that breach the online discussion rules will not be posted. Any allegations made against specific individuals or companies may be edited to remove identifying information before being posted.

Citizenship and civic engagement

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Before posting your comment please read the terms and conditions relating to the use of this web forum. This forum is pre-moderated and comments that breach the online discussion rules will not be posted. Please contact [email protected] if you experience difficulties using this forum. Please note that your comment will not be treated as formal written evidence to the Committee and will not be protected by Parliamentary Privilege.

66 Responses to Citizenship and civic engagement

David Durant says:
November 03, 2017 at 11:05 AM
The most important thing for Parliament to do in this area is to discuss the best way to keep this conversation going once this period of consultation is finished. Whether this is a regular meet-up of people who are interested in this topic, an online forum with an active community manager or something else it seems obvious to me that this is something that will need to be continuously discussed.
James Cathcart says:
October 23, 2017 at 05:26 PM
Its worth noting that since the call for written evidence closed there has been a major current piece of activity which illustrates mass youth engagement in citizenship, and the results published (ref below). This is British Youth Council's UK Youth Parliament Make Your Mark campaign, which is the biggest youth engagement (11-18) in youth democratic activity, A ballot of their views on what they want debated in the House of Commons to be their campaign topic for 2018. The report shows that 948,677 individual votes cast across the UK, broken down by local authority, turnout and volume.(4.5 m votes since 2011)...

The UK wide ballot has 10 topics to choose from. Aside from whether one agrees with the 10 campaigns aims, the evidence illustrates a purposeful journey of youth democratic engagement, elections, hustings, ballot, local debates and follow up campaigns, that takes part over a two year cycle. the final debate in the House of Commons is on 10th November and is usually broadcast on Parlt TV. Largely unreported nationally, but noticed locally and championed by local authorities, many MPs, Parliament, Government and Mr Speaker, I recommend that the report is studied by the Committee, and connections made to the final recommendations.

Voting Results:A Curriculum to prepare us for life - 130,674 Transport - 128,749; Work Experience hubs for 11-18 year olds - 121,695; Mental Health - 119,186; Votes at 16 - 100,231; Protect LGBT+ People - 99,817; First Aid Education for All Young People - 83,220; Protect schools budgets from damaging cuts - 59,609; Make the Invisible visible - 54,495; Support for Young Carers - 51,001

Average turnout 1in6, Top areas Slough 80% Oldham 72%

www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017-Make-Your-Mark-results-report.pdf

http://www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017-Make-Your-Mark-Infographic.pdf
Carmel Costello says:
October 20, 2017 at 10:04 PM
I think everyone and should be encouraged, welcomed and supported in taking part in public life.

Parliament, it's members, educational, health and all other organisations and bodies, should be provided with the necessary, professional, up to date, regular, researched, ongoing, training, skills, education, information, knowledge, personnel and feedback to make the above engagements happen and take place.

It should be recognised, awarded and become part of daily life, living and well being for all in society and for the future.

Thank you and for this opportunity.

James Cathcart says:
October 15, 2017 at 03:47 PM
The Russell Commission report 'Youth Action and Engagement(2005),is an excellent and rich source of information on "youth" for the Committee, in particular its concept of the individual citizen's journey through a national framework for youth action and engagement (P8-9). Could be enshrined in a modern Magna Carta of rights and responsibilities. I would add a Citizens Card that captures basic information and records engagement in that journey. I particularly like a info graphic illustration to make sense of complex relationships and milestones, to show opportunities and achievements in the citizen journey throughout a lifetime. However citizenship is much more that youth social action, but includes engagements with democracy, exercising rights, scrutiny, free speech, and needs a corresponding set of entitlements from the state to the citizen - protection by the rule of law and the courts, liberty, freedom of speech, equality, access to public services. I really hope the final report references both sides of the 'engagement' relationship between the citizens and the state, and references the Magna Carta.
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20070221002548/http://www.russellcommission.org/docs/Final_report.pdf
Fabio says:
October 12, 2017 at 01:31 AM
1) I think they don't integrated into the british society, they live in ghettos and don't try to lear the language. watch chanel tv for his countries. This is nothing wrong with british people, I think the problem is people who come here without any goals in life, only to get benefits.
2) I come here 20 years ago and british society was open, now for many bad inmmigrants people they are no to friendly like they was before. I remember when the train station and many underground station don't have barrier and everybody get the tickets, after this people start to abuse the system everything change unfortunately.
David Sanderson says:
October 11, 2017 at 11:16 AM
Civic engagement is now a DIY operation. In my village (a large ex-industrial village in the south Pennines), the excellent local newspaper has folded & Parish Council meetings are often not quorat. However, local folk have set up an excellent Facebook group for the community (residents + Businesses), that now has many more users than live locally! See
https://www.facebook.com/groups/uppermill/
This is where issues of traffic congestion, floods, crime, news of upcoming dances, shop special offers etc get posted and discussed. Instant and free....Note it is moderated to quickly weed out offensive and untrue posts.
Jol Miskin says:
October 10, 2017 at 05:19 PM
There is a crucial role to be played by adult education and I think the Workers' Educational Association which is the largest provider of adult education in England and Scotland. Whilst we can and do offer dedicated 'active citizenship' education- something we now call Practical Political Education (PPE) - there's also much evidence to show that community based adult education with a social purpose (The WEA's mission)can and does encourage greater engagement in the political sphere. It also brings adults together from different backgrounds and experiences. So, more adult education is a prerequisite for more engaged and active citizens. We need dynamic, well resourced lifelong learning. As part of that we should offer PPE free as a basic and essential 'skill' alongside English, maths and digital skills.
Antonia Jennings says:
October 10, 2017 at 04:16 PM
In answer to your last question, I'd like to bring your attention to the charity I work for, Economy (ecnmy.org). Our mission is to create a more understandable economics, giving people the confidence to question what economics is, and shape what the economy could be.

Economy was conceived out of Rethinking Economics (RE), a student-led campaign calling for a university economics education which creates critical, socially engaged economists who have the knowledge and skills to address the pressing problems that our generation faces.

Economy was the result of RE realising that producing better economists wasn’t enough; to build a sustainable, just and democratic society we need a general public that is able to engage with economic discussion, scrutinise economic decision makers, and articulate what it needs from the economy. RE began placing greater emphasis on making economics more accessible to the public in 2013/14, via open conferences and schools workshops. In 2015, a group of our students from within the movement at Manchester University featured in Terry Jones’ film on the 2008 financial crash: Boom Bust Boom, to talk about the failings of an economics education to teach its students how the crisis happened in the first place.

From this, the student movement devised Economy, which was registered as its own association CIO (No. 1166046) in the UK in March 2016. Economy is designed to be a source of accessible, engaging and pluralist economics for anyone and everyone.

We believe we are giving individuals and communities a voice to take ownership over the economic decisions that affect them. Our research has shown, the way in which economics is presented in the public sphere at present is inaccessible to the majority of our society, leading to the paradoxical situation of a marginalised majority. Many people are unable to fully participate in democratic life, or take part in debate on how social and economic life should be structured.

Inaccessible economics is open only to those with a specialist education, power, and privilege. Economy sets out to address this power imbalance, demystifying economic language to educate its audience on how the economy works and where they fit in, transforming the subject from a barrier to a bridge for citizens to engage in critical, grounded and informed political debate.

Economy aims to catalyse a change in our public culture and economic and political systems through reimagining the relationship between citizens and decision makers. At a time when local, national and international politics is changing rapidly, it is imperative that the UK has a fully functioning democracy. We believe that the inability of the majority of people to engage in conversation on economics creates a democratic deficit which our work is uniquely placed to tackle.

Please get in touch! We would love to contribute to this committee in some way. Thanks, Antonia.
aster mehretab says:
October 08, 2017 at 11:01 PM
the life in the united kingdom citizenship test is incredibly difficult, i am lucky i didn't have to do it. I know many people who so want to pass the test and feel fully part of the British society, however this test is almost impossible, whoever wrote it is/are some how living in a bubble and don't realise most native British people would struggle to answer half the questions correctly. Or may be this was deliberately designed as a deterrent to reduce citizenship applications.
British values, culture and democratic practices should be part of the primary and secondary education curriculum.
Lidia Bosa says:
October 07, 2017 at 06:10 AM
The government does not encourage immigrants to become citizens. I have been living in the UK since 2004 on an Italian passport. Not once since I have arrived have I been contacted or advised of the benefits of becoming a citizen. Yet I have access to all the benefits that a UK citizen is entitled to. How could this be? What is the point of being a UK citizen? The government fails in providing a benefit of being a UK citizen and thus disconnects non UK citizens. As a non UK citizen I can cite racism and discrimination if I don't feel comfortable about a decision or failed opportunity.
If the Government made simple benefits such as NHS, access to social housing, pensions, unemployment benefits and education available at no cot ONLY to UK citizens then the whole CITIZENSHIP 'feeling of belonging' would be far better valued. Of course, as a non UK citizen, the access to any of the above should be available at a fee, as would be the case in any other foreign country.

My opinion as a NON UK citizen.