I Want To Organise A Council!

Too often we end up discussing frustrations with our democracy in a social media echo chamber, despairing at the impossibility of real change. An Act As If Council not only brings a community together to discuss their local priorities, but focuses on imagining real community-driven solutions.

These Councils have a simple purpose: groups of local people come together to imagine what they would do if they had the power to run their own place. The discussion takes place within a designed format so that we can best work together and capture ideas for future action.

Sound like something your community needs? This step-by-step guide is here to help you get started.

Step-by-step Guide

You decide you want a council in your area, but a council is more than one person! Reach out to other people in your area to get the ball rolling. You could post an open call on your Facebook page or contact local organisations and campaigners who are already doing great work.

Get in touch with your ideas, and we’ll try to help you in any way we can – facilitating on the day, putting you in touch with guest speakers, or giving advice on plans.

The venue and timing can be key to a successful council. Together with the other people on board, think of a central place that can be reached by public transport, with parking available for drivers. Evenings tend to work for most, but may mean parents find it difficult to attend. Consider how to make sure that the fundamental logistics don’t exclude sections of your local community.

Review the council template for how the Act As If Councils normally work. Do you have all the basic materials you need? Have enough people volunteered to take on the different roles at the council? What guests will you invite? We can help you get together all the pieces that make a great council.

A council isn’t a council without the people. Work out a plan to reach people with the council. We can help by promoting the event on the Our Democracy Facebook page and you can share it on local pages and twitter.

Get in touch with local press and invite them along to the council. Call local organisations and groups who might not otherwise access social media. Your council will be all the more powerful if it represents a broad cross-section of your community.

Share what happened! The outcomes from your council will inspire other people to act as if they own the place. Whether it’s photos of the different council stages, a blog reporting your next steps, or short video interviews taken with your phone with attendees after the council, spreading what you learned online or in a local newsletter will build our collective knowledge and strengthen Our Democracy.