Flatpack Democracy: Time to make local politics work | Rethinking Poverty
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Flatpack Democracy: Time to make local politics work

May 14 @ 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Over the last 10 years a steadily growing number of places have found new ways to make the community level of local government function better. There is vast potential for parish and town councils to create new forms of relationship and practice with the people they purport to represent. The course will look at how we got to where we are; share practical steps as we could do better; and both encourage and support participants to see how they can grasp a fast track to real change….. and why all this does not have to be boring.

What to expect

  • A plain English romp through the history of democracy, covering why it was doomed from the start.
  • A look at what you know about your own ‘representation’,
  • A case study of Frome’s ‘Flatpack Democracy’ with updates from new places that have evolved and improved the model
  • Support and encouragement to be more pirate
  • What to do next.

What I’ll leave with

  • A better understanding of the mess we are in and why and how we got there
  • Why town and parish councils do not have to be Vicar of Dibley or Jackie Weaver* but can be something completely different.
  • A new optimism around a glimmer of home that something might actually be possible.

    *References to farcically dysfunctional parish council

Who’s it for?

  • Anyone frustrated by a lack of co-ordinated local action
  • Anyone fearful of what climate change, post covid  and post Brexit is doing to communities (and who wants to do something positive)
  • Anyone desperate for a model of politics that is non confrontational.
  • No specific experience….  though some frustration would be helpful.

The facilitator

Pam Barrett has been a civil servant for 30 years, working in central parts of Whitehall, and more recently in DEFRA.  She led the creation of the Buckfastleigh Independent Group, was Mayor for 4 years, and is chair of the local park/swimming pool charity.  She is currently leading the development of a new approach to address health, social and economic inequalities in small rural towns and runs Be Buckfastleigh, an ambitious CiC looking to address hidden rural deprivation.

Peter MacFadyen has worked in areas of social justice for over 40 years.  In 2010 this took him into local politics, co-creating a new relationship between local government and the people in Frome.  Moving from politics based on fear and confrontation to listening, empathy and co-operation are central to his ethos. His work and lifestyle see humankind as a small part of the wider ecology, with recycling, reusing, organic growing, cooking, bicycling, community and family all central.


May 14
2:30 pm - 4:30 pm


Stir to Action