Puffles4Cambridge – an evaluation (1st draft)


The full first draft is a good 6,000+ words but is by no means the completed version. Hence why your comments are much appreciated

Click here —>>> 140530 Evaluation of campaign AC v1 to open the PDF document for the big document. It’s in four parts:

  1. Background
  2. The campaign
  3. Lessons learnt
  4. Conclusions and recommendations

For those of you who think this sounds like too much work, the summary of findings I’ve made are as follows:

  • There is a general lack of trust between people and party politics
  • We are failing on the basics of citizenship and civic awareness
  • Citizens have a number of basic expectations of what candidates standing for election should be doing – you need to start from where people are, not from where you want them to be
  • ‘Digital’ won’t work while this lack of trust remains
  • ‘Digital’ won’t work if we cannot get the basics right
  • There are very different perceptions of local democracy between those inside the ‘guildhall bubble’ and those outside of it
  • There is a big variance in understanding across Cambridge of who does what and why in local government
  • There is a lack of understanding across Cambridge of how local political parties function
  • Local groups could organise cross-party ‘question time’ style meetings, but there is a lack of initiative within them and from local politicians to encourage such groups to organise these events
  • Dealing with low turnout and low engagement will require some cross-party co-operation, but will local and national political climate allow for this?
  • One person cannot do everything – and it’s not just a time/resources/effort issue – you need the right person to do outreach for different groups
  • When engaging with new audiences, you need someone who has the credibility with that audience you want to engage with. Don’t send a climate sceptic into a room full of atmospheric scientists, don’t send someone who’s not part of the local arts & craft scene to do outreach there
  • We have the tech, tools, skills and people to try new approaches, but not the desire from within the city
  • Party politics is a barrier for places that want/need to remain apolitical but that could help in democracy outreach
  • We still have not mapped our communities in Cambridge. Political parties focus on communities of geography (ward level) unless a specific community of interest takes an active part in local democracy – eg Cambridge Cycling Campaign
  • There’s a yawning gap between public policy and party politics – both sides don’t seem to understand where the other is coming from




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