Local Democracy Week - Making a Difference
Birmingham used Local Democracy Week 2008 to hammer home the message that there never been a better time for local people to have their say on how the city governed.
The council knows there no way it can be doing its job properly if it doesn know clearly and in detail what all city communities, and all ages, want to see.
The week was a great opportunity for people to find out and take part in the huge range of services and initiatives they can influence. Birmingham is a city with a fast-growing, young population and we used Local Democracy Week to launch initiatives aimed at encouraging local people especially young people to get involved.
We are committed to expanding this work well beyond the week, and would love to hear your ideas to make Local Democracy week bigger and better every year.
- Encourage people to make a contribution and be able to influence decisions
- Boost the citizenship curriculum in schools
- Promote voter registration and turnout - especially amongst new, young voters and under-represented communities, such as homeless people.
- Held a Sustainability Forum - to stimulate debate on the city growth and regeneration policy over next 20 years, in the face of challenges like climate change. To find out about future Sustainability forums please contact email@example.com
- Launched Election Packs for homeless organisations to increase number of homeless people on the register of electors. For more information contact the Elections Office 0121 303 2731 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Held a Citizens Day event hosted by Be Birmingham and Friction Arts, where young people designed an installation representing the positive changes they are helping drive forward in their neighbourhoods. To see a short film of the event, visit the Be Birmingham website at www.bebirmingham.org.uk and at www.youtube.com/bebirmingham
- Re-launched Young Peoples Parliament in the council house giving young people the opportunity to highlight issues affecting them. To find out more contact Mark, Paul or Philip 464 1709
- Had a pull out in the Forward newspaper including information on events taking place, and general information regarding how to access council services or get in touch with councillors.
- Held a Community School Event at Sheldon Heath School with local City Councillors Sue Anderson and Paul Tilsley, with a question and answer session with the schools newly elected Council
- Developed a Citizenship resource for secondary schools produced by young people, exploring the concept of citizenship and democracy particularly amongst communities on the democratic margins. To find out more contact email@example.com
- Held a BAME Outreach event with The Women Councillors Taskforce Secretariat, seeking nominations for the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Women Councillors Taskforce. For more information visit www.equalities.gov.uk tel. 020 7944 0627 / 0615
Local Democracy: The Facts
The council supports more than 250 forums where people can come together to discuss a wide range of topics with council officers or councillors themselves.
There are more than 40 Neighbourhood Forums and Constituency Youth Forums across the city that raise and discuss local issues.
We support a wide range of citywide groups include the Sustainability Forum, Carers Forums, the Birmingham Advisory Council for Older People, 33 area Housing Liaison Boards, a Cycling Advisory Group, Birmingham Trade and Consumer Forum, the Museums Community Panel, and Sport Development Forums.
And it doesn just have to be about attending meetings. For example, people who volunteer for the council Considerate Contractor Streetworks Scheme are trained as lay assessors - to quality-check the arrangements contractors have in place to keep pedestrians safe while roadworks are carried out - and make recommendations to ensure safety and accessibility.
For a list of forums and ways to get involved visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/consultation
Have your say: Your guide to council meetings
Birmingham City Council is the biggest local authority in Europe, with a population of just over a million residents. Since 2004, many decision-making or spending arrangements have been made at a local level. Local council meetings offer you not just the opportunity to have your say about services, but also to network with other residents and your councillors.
There are ten council consistencies across the city. The 12 local councillors representing each of these constituencies draw up plans for the future, and for delivering services such as refuse collection, parks, libraries and neighbourhood offices and involving you.
Even closer to where you live are ward committees which you can attend and get involved with your three local ward councillors on matters affecting your area. Meetings are always held in public at local community buildings.
Planning committee public meetings
Planning Committee meets in public on Thursdays, three weeks out of four, in Committee Rooms 3 and 4, Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham B1 1BB.
The meetings don just cover individual applications, but issues like protection of listed buildings and conservation areas, nature conservation, local searches, tree preservation orders and building control.
If you like to have your say at a Planning Committee meeting on a specific item, youl need to get your request in before 12 noon on the Monday before the Thursday meeting.
City council public meetings
The full council meets on a monthly basis and all meetings are open to the public. You'll find full information on agendas, minutes, reports and decisions of meetings at www.birmingham.gov.uk/democracy