Democracy Matters event, Central Hall, Westminster on 6th December 2010.

Democracy Matters, of which the ECA is a member, is an informal alliance of individuals and organisations for effective democracy, promoting learning for practical politics and an effective voice for all citizens.

The event aimed to share practice and strengthen support for learning effective citizenship and social action as well as engaging with the new political environment and the Big Society agenda.

The day featured Oliver Letwin MP, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office as Keynote Speaker in conversation with the former Chief Advisor on Political Strategy to Tony Blair, Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA.

Their conversation focused on the topic of the Big Society. When asked about citizenship teaching and the wealth of knowledge that the Big Society presupposed, Letwin was asked how the current government think people are going to learn these skills. His response was that Local Authorities would be mandated to train and guide people. He also stated when asked how the Big Society would deal with inequality and poverty that the government are determined to attack that inequality from the bottom up, where there is the greatest concentration of poverty.

Democracy Matters has previously lobbied John Hayes MP, Minister for Further Education, Skills & Lifelong Learning. In the briefing to the Minister they stated that ‘Community-based lifelong learning is central to achieving the vision of a Big Society and social action. It makes a direct contribution to many policy areas, particularly health, family stability, community safety, social cohesion, employment, economic development, digital inclusion, innovation in public services and enabling people. During their meeting Hayes warmly welcomed Democracy Matters work and fully recognised its importance for a healthy democracy and civil society to take responsibility’.

Date Added: December 16th 2010