Our democracy – and our society – thrives when people are better able to connect with each other and with the institutions that shape our lives. We believe that effective representation and accountability can make Britain a better place to live for everyone.

Vision and mission

Our vision is of the UK as a fairer, healthier, happier society where democratic engagement is an active part of everyday life.

Our mission is to provide UK citizens with the tools and support they need to engage and actively participate.

Increasing participation and engagement are key to improving representation, equality and accountability, these attributes drive improvements to policymaking and governance.

We seek to make UK democracy more representative, more equal, and more accountable, by increasing democratic participation and engagement. We believe turnouts of 90% by 2030 are possible.

We focus on the issue of under-representation (where certain groups are not engaged and therefore under-represented in the discourse) as well as the issue of misrepresentation (where people do vote but are not necessarily clear about what different parties stand for, and therefore struggle to hold representatives to account).

Our approach

Our approach incorporates research, collaboration, product development, outreach and active marketing to create specific routes to democratic engagement for specific groups who are currently under-represented or misrepresented. These routes are tailor-made to respond to the needs of those audiences or to the particular issues they face, but they all share a common approach. This approach is structured around a comprehensive concept of democracy with an emphasis not solely on participation, but also the drivers of participation.

We call this DEEP Democracy.

  • We promote and enable Discussion of policy and politics. Active discussion has been shown to be a driver of democratic participation.
  • We deliver information and interactive Education on policies. When people have access to better information and engage with issues, evidence shows they are more likely to engage in democratic processes.
  • We provide positive messaging to Empower people, focusing on the value of political participation, information about rights and accountabilities, as well as examples of where participation has created impact.
  • We encourage Participation in community, local democracy and national democratic activities. We signpost ways to engage and take action.
DEEP democracy model: Discussion, Education, Empowerment, Participation

Evidence shows that each of these activities promote informed participation, and that this engagement is positive for individuals, communities and societies. Together, they enable sustainable democratic engagement.

We believe the UK will be a fairer, happier, healthier place when democratic participation is stronger and everyone has a say.

2021 Strategy

In 2021 we are launching a new five-year strategy based on this model of DEEP engagement. Over the next five years we intend to grow the organisation, broadening and deepening the reach of our work.

For most of its ten-year history Vote for Policies has been volunteer run, but in late 2020 we moved to a professional footing with funding for two part-time roles. This has enabled a period of strategic planning, including the articulation of a specific long-term goal and core strategic objectives.

Our strategy recognises that the change we seek is not a rapid process. Our long-term goal therefore looks to a ten-year horizon while our strategic objectives relate to what we plan to achieve within the next five years.

Our plans are ambitious, and recognise that investment is needed to take the Vote for Policies work to the next level. To create the change we want to see in the UK, we need to be able to provide greater breadth and depth of information and more actively promote our services and build key partnerships.

Long term strategic goal:
To improve representation and accountability in UK democracy by 2030

Indicators of success will include:

  • Increase in turnout at elections (local and national).
  • Increase in turnout and engagement within key groups that are currently under-represented.
  • Increase in engagement with policy debate among people who do vote.

Strategic objective #1:
Increase democratic engagement among 3-5 key groups currently under-represented in the democratic process by 2025

Indicators of success will include:

  • Uplift from baseline participation among targeted groups
  • Uplift from baseline turnout among targeted groups
  • Uplift in discussion of issues facing these groups in public policy debate

Strategic objective #2:
Improve the level of engagement with policy debate among people who do vote, reaching 15% of the electorate with our services by 2025.

Indicators of success will include:

  • Uplift in number of people using information services such as election survey and manifesto tracker
  • Uplift in community engagement in holding representatives to account
  • Increase in public policy discussion and debate in public/ community/ social media forums

How you can support this work

Our ambitious strategy requires investment in order to catalyse the change we believe we can facilitate. We have identified staff time as the critical investment needed.

In order to deliver the strategy that we outline here, we intend to grow our team over the next 3 years from being majority volunteer-run with two part-time roles, to a team of five full-time staff.

These staff roles would enable us to provide consistent, quality investment in web-based product development, communications and marketing, content production and partnership development and management.

To help us fundraise for a small core staff please donate to our campaign.