Trust for London, on behalf of the Citizenship and Integration Initiative, and the UK Democracy Fund, set up by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, have come together to support comprehensive research into the mechanisms that can facilitate equal, inclusive, representative civic and democratic participation through the London Voices project.
To participate fully in shaping their future, citizens and residents need access to relevant knowledge and opportunities, need to trust the system and feel heard. Central and local government, civil society organisations and funders play a critical role in enabling individuals to actively participate in their communities and their localities, in decisions that affect them, their families and their future.
Together with delivery partner the Young European Network at the 3Million, we wanted to understand the state of London’s democracy and co-produce recommendations to ensure participation is embedded into all streams of medium-term and long-term recovery, particularly those focused on:
- tackling exacerbated inequalities;
- building and supporting resilience and a safety net;
- bringing Londoners together; and
- supporting the capacity and agency of London’s civil society.
Working with partners from across London, the UK and internationally from civil society, local authorities, statutory bodies and academia, London Voices looks to:
- fill gaps in research;
- be led by community voices and lived experiences;
- map barriers and best practice in civic and democratic participation; and
- inspire innovation and collaboration.
On the release of the report:
The richness of the perspectives presented in the London Voices research and the clear representation of Londoners' experiences will be invaluable in informing our work on civic participation and democratic engagement. The report complements and builds on ongoing GLA activity focused on London’s social recovery such as the recently launched London Civic Strength Index and the Festival of Ideas that took place this summer. The importance of a partnership approach to this work really shines through both the case studies and recommendations and shows that any work in this field can only be effective if it takes into account the voices of under-registered and under-represented communities in London. I look forward to working with our partners to action some of these recommendations and support all of London’s diverse communities to strengthen their voice in our great city.
We need to support and enable all Londoners to participate equally in our democratic processes. It’s no surprise that those groups already disproportionately impacted by poverty and the impacts of the pandemic are also those most marginalised in terms of democratic participation. The future for all of us remains uncertain as long as our young people have the highest levels of unemployment and the lowest levels of voter registration in our city. This research sheds light on both the will for democratic reform and some crucial barriers to greater participation. We welcome the practical recommendations for funders like us and look forward to working together to strengthen the voices of London’s communities.