Common Weal has published a contribution to the Open Government Programme offering ideas on Accountability, Transparency and Participation. These include:
- A Citizen’s Assembly should be established as a ‘second chamber’ of the Scottish Parliament. That body should have the ability (including the resources) to establish inquiries run by independent citizens which can compel evidence and witnesses and which is free to produce reports. The panel would be temporary – selected at random from around the country – but weighted to reflect the demographics of the population.
- A Scottish National Democracy Academy should be established. This would be created jointly by academia, the public sector, civic society and citizens and could be staffed largely through secondments. It would be tasked with exploring new approaches to democracy in Scotland, advising the public sector and its institutions on best democratic practice, devising and piloting new practices and reviewing and commenting on the state of Scotland’s democracy.
- ‘One option would be’ to create a new layer of local government (at what used to be called the Burgh Council level) and bring Scotland in line with the ratios of elected politicians to constituents of most modern, complex democracies
- Communities and individuals should have the ability to come together to discuss local, national and international issues without ‘permission’ from or instigation by elected government. ‘Altings’ or ‘tings’ were an ancient Norse model of local assemblies … Bringing the model up to date can serve two purposes. Firstly by creating the infrastructure and support at a local level, communities or any interested subgroup of a community could meet and discuss any issue they wanted to and produce any conclusions they want. In addition, Tings would provide a link between public services and people by providing neutral places for specific issues to be aired,