Why do we need it & how do we do it?

The Learning for local democracy event, which took place on 16th October, Portcullis House in London, enabled the sharing of current practice (Leicester Speaks was one example) and an exploration of how learning could be developed for local democracy in the future. It was organised by Democracy Matters and chaired by David Hughes, CEO of NIACE.

The keynote speeches were from Rt. Hon. David Blunkett MP and Baroness Sharp of Guildford.

Then, Chris Minter, newly appointed director at the Educational Centres Association and originator of ‘Leicester Speaks’ (www.leicesterspeaks.org) shared the variety of voices involved in one of the biggest local celebrations of local democracy in the UK. He used this to argue that adult learning providers, whether colleges, universities or local authority adult learning services should take a lead on promoting local democracy. He considered that the current arrangements were not working and that historically there are strong links between learning and democracy and that adult learning providers had a strong track record on attracting participation from groups that are often not included.

Other speakers were Cllr Robert Light, Deputy Chairman of the LGA and leader of the Conservative Group in Kirklees Jol Miskin, WEA Regional Education Manager for Yorkshire and Humber and finally Titus Alexander, convenor of Democracy Matters and Director of Policy at People Can.

The discussion explored the importance of adult education taking a lead in education for citizenship as well as the tensions in localism.

Following the meeting, NIACE , the ECA and Democracy Matters all agreed to take this agenda forward and keep participants informed. Since then a meeting has been arranged in November to take this forward.

Date Added: October 17th 2012