How can we make democracy work better? What are some practical improvements that we can put into place? These are questions that the Practical Democracy Podcast hopes to answer.
This is the second part of a podcast special that Ben Fowkes recorded while at Notwestminster 2020 last month. (Part 1 here.) In this episode, Ben talks to the very chatty Kevin Davies, Head of Public Engagement at the National Assembly for Wales, whose job role is about as broad as the title suggests.
He talks about his work and the broader work of the National Assembly for Wales, which can be roughly categorised into the following headings:
0:40: Overview of the Assembly, soon to be renamed Senedd
3:50: Youth Parliament
The Senedd operates a youth parliament, which is fascinating in both its scope and structure. For example, its members are elected, in order that it mirrors the Senedd as much as possible. You can hear a description of a member’s role at 9:40. At 13:25, Kevin talks about the three priorities the Youth Parliament has identified: mental health; littering and plastic waste; and incorporating life skills in the school curriculum. At 15:20 he talks about the ways in which the Youth Parliament’s work feeds in to official decision-making.
Here, Kevin goes over the work that committees within the National Assembly do and the way they do it. At 30:03 he talks about the importance of making participation and involvement personal – that is, asking respondents for their lived experience on a particular issue, rather than broad impersonal questions. And at 37:00 he talks about working backwards from the desired outcome: that is; considering the audience you want to reach first, and tailoring your approach around maximising that engagement, rather than just publishing a consultation and just crossing your fingers that a representative sample of the population responds.
41:03: Why Notwestminster + closing thoughts
Practical Democracy Podcast: Episode 2 – #Notwestminster Special Part 1