There’s a lot of discussion within the participatory democracy field about how better to reach marginalised groups, and the best methods of harnessing their collective intelligence. Marginalised might mean immigrant communities, who might have difficulty understanding an online consultation in English; the elderly, who may not be able to respond digitally; and so on.
One demographic we don’t hear much about is children. Responding to consultations probably isn’t high on the priority list of your average 8-year-old, but the voice of the child is an important one to hear. After all, they’re going to inherit the Earth. (Best of luck, kids.) That said, there are a few organisations that are using Citizen Space to ask for responses from young people at the moment.
The DfE are seeking evidence relating to their planned refresh of the National Plan For Music Education. It’s asking for submissions from a range of people, like teachers and music instructors, as well as children and young people. There’s a dedicated section of questions specifically for young people, which is outlined in the consultation’s overview so they know which bit to click through to.
First of all, the banner image for this is just downright adorable. This consultation is aimed specifically at primary school children up to age 11, and asks for their views on a range of things, from mental health and bullying to their thoughts on climate change. Kids under 8 might need help to fill it in, but the language is plain enough that it’s accessible for 8 to 11-year-olds.
Birmingham are consulting their young people on out-of-school clubs and activities. The Council ‘is looking at all Out-of-School Settings across the city to make sure that all children are safe and protected from harm.’ I like how they’ve summarised data protection and consent stuff in a format that’s easy to understand on the overview page. Again, I would imagine really little kids would need a grown-up to help them, but older children would have no trouble giving their input.
If you’d like to learn more about what Citizen Space can do for your organisation, book a free demo and we’ll walk you through it.