Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation

Power to the people

Voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations are being asked to get involved with a new campaign to engage individuals and devolve democratic power. The Make it an Issue campaign is designed to give people more say in both big national decisions and local interests.

The campaign has been launched by the Power Inquiry, which recently conducted an 18-month study into political and community engagement. The Inquiry is calling for a stronger representative democracy and parliamentary reform to give people “footholds into democracy”. Power’s director Pam Giddy, said: “For so many of us the issues we really care about, such as the environment, poverty, local schooling, transport and so on, relate back to our democratic processes, or can’t be resolved because of their breakdown.” Plans include local ‘power groups’ to put pressure on MPs, especially in marginal seats. VCS groups could get involved at this local level by setting up their own groups. The original Power Inquiry report, published last year, showed that formal political engagement was at an all-time low, although many individuals were involved and interested in voluntary and community activities.

(from: Voluntary Sector February 2007)