Policy paper

Democratic engagement

Updated 29 January 2015

1. A voice for everyone

The government is committed to maximising electoral registration to help support the highest possible turnout in elections. Many people want to be more involved in and influence the decisions that make an impact on their day-to-day lives, whether these are taken by the government or by their local council. However, for their voices to be heard at the ballot box they need to be registered to vote.

The Cabinet Office aims to work with national organisations that bring communities on board to help motivate, inform and engage people who are not on the electoral register - in particular, groups that are under-represented in the electoral process.

You can now register to vote in England, Scotland and Wales. Online registration brings voter registration into the 21st century and makes it easier, simpler and faster for people to register to vote.

2. Different ways to engage communities

2.1 Democratic engagement resources

In February 2014 the government announced funding for 5 organisations to develop new approaches to encourage democratic engagement amongst some of the groups who feel most disengaged from democracy and politics in the UK.

Organisations with experience of working directly with communities have valuable insight into the best ways of engaging different groups. The Cabinet Office worked in partnership with 5 national charities to produce resources to promote democratic engagement:

2.2 Rock Enrol!®

Rock Enrol! is a high quality, simple to use, interactive learning resource which encourages young people aged 16-19 to engage with democracy. It can be used by teachers, youth leaders and young people themselves in a range of settings.

The session lasts 45 minutes so that young people can debate important issues and decide how the government should spend - and save - its money. Developed with youth led organisation Bite the Ballot, it uses interactive games to get students discussing important issues, whether local or global, and to get their voice heard by registering to vote in the session itself.

The resource includes a lesson outline, activities, reasons to register to vote and supporting guidance. It fits well with the citizenship curriculum but can be used in a wide range of environments, such as in colleges or youth groups.

3. Find out more

The Cabinet Office has published democratic engagement resources. Whilst they were developed for specific groups of people, they can also be adapted for other communities, including those in other under-registered groups, in future engagement activity. For further information, please contact DemocraticEngagement@cabinetoffice.gov.uk.

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