Michael Sani on Systems Change
The issue with poor civic participation is mainly due to a lack of meaningful engagement of all citizens, regardless of their post code, education pathways or any other factor that makes us different. To reach the millions of disengaged citizens through direct service alone would require a huge workforce and financial resources, something Bite the Ballot just doesn't have access to. So, in order to drive meaningful change, it become clear root causes needed to be tackled and scaling impact needs to be the core goal.
For Bite the Ballot, this involves collectively advocating for systemic changes whether legislative or procedural, in the areas that affect democratic participation. We do this through our work as the secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Democratic Participation, which has a Co-Chair from each elected major political party that participates in Westminster. We bring together young citizens, parliamentarians, academics and NGOs to look at how to involve young citizens in the political process and better improve dialogue. We also provide briefs for politicians taking part in parliamentary debates and coordinate key stakeholders to collaborate to create solutions. We work closely with academics and research institutes to produce evidence-based research that offers recommendations.
In many cases bringing all those together, who would be affected by a proposed policy shift to see where there are desired similarities and clear differences, is the starting point to ensuring all voices within the eco-system are at the table. It has worked well so far with four pieces of public policy and government procedures influenced over the past 14 months.