More than 250 local councils are already geared up to take part in Local Democracy Week 2003, which begins on October 13th. This year the focus is on young people, under the heading ‘Listening To Tomorrow’s Voters Today’ and the Local Government Association says it is on target to involve at least 300 councils in events and activities during the week.The events are designed to promote the role of councils in the community and to give people a better understanding of local government. The idea is to ensure that local people feel they have a stake in the democratic process and a real say about the services provided by their local authorities. The LGA says that with the fall in interest in local and national politics and the decline in turnout for elections, it is focusing on the potential young people have to shape the future of society and help redress this trend in the long term.
Events already organised by authorities include Essex County Council building a UK Youth Parliament website for the county, running a schools government day and arranging for students to shadow local politicians. Coventry and Warwickshire Councils will use voting equipment from the television game show ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ to host a debate on lowering the voting age to 16. And Norfolk County Council are planning a radio phone-in for local children with the BBC Director General, Greg Dyke.