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News and events

June 2022

A botanical illustration of three bats of different breeds

Release the bats

We think this is the largest release of data we've ever seen on our Freedom of Information site WhatDoTheyKnow: 1.25 TB of audio, video and text files... and it's all from National Highways bat surveys.

In a blog post, Helen explains how this batty information has been used to support a campaign against the Arundel bypass, and shares one of the videos — see more here.

Mapping transparency

A map of Wallonia divided into council departments, some red, some green and some orange

"They don’t like being red or orange when their neighbour is green!"

It's always fun to chat with Belgian Freedom of Information organisation Transparencia and find out what new and inventive ways they've thought up to hold authorities to account.

In this recent blog post, Claude Archer explains how a simple map pushed forward legislation to ensure that citizens are kept fully informed on what their local councils are debating - and as usual, some of Transparencia's methods were entertainingly provocative.

A female apprentice learning how to install insulation

Green jobs and fairness for all

Drop in to our next prototyping sessions!

We've been running 'prototyping weeks' in the Climate team: five days of debate, brainstorming and rapidly thrown-together mockups around a specific topic. During these weeks, our doors are open for anyone with expertise or experience in the areas under scrutiny to drop in and help us understand the context, challenges and opportunities.

The next such week will see us grappling with two interlinked areas: what work will look like in a green transition, and how to ensure that the benefits are felt equally across all of society. Siôn's written more about it in a post, and that's where to go if you'd like to get involved.

A long haired cat and a computer monitor in silhouette in a domestic setting and against a window

Carbon footprints and working from home

mySociety has always been a 'remote' organisation, with everyone working from home — and that makes it harder to figure out where exactly we can cut down on operational emissions.

We're thinking it's a bit less of a niche problem now that so many other organisations have embraced remote working, and we'd love to hear from any that have done the maths around this. Here's where we've got to.

Climate Action Plans

CAPE, the Climate Action Plans Explorer, gains new features and becomes more useful all the time. Type in your postcode and see what we can tell you about your own local council's plans around the climate.

Screenshot of CAPE's 'features' page with examples of climate action plans that are strong on particular points.
TICTeC Labs logo

Storytelling and reach in civic tech

In the most recent TICTeC Surgery, we heard thoughts from an international range of civic tech organisations (including mySociety's own Comms Manager Myf) on the challenges of putting our projects in front of wider audiences.

For the quick read, you can find the summary here, and from there you can dive deeper with links to fuller minutes and the video.

Be part of the solution

After each Civic Tech Surgery, we convene a small group in an Action Lab, which will decide how a grant can be best applied to solve the problems identified. Want to be part of this one? Applications are open until June 7 and you can find details here.

Call for proposals

A previous Action Lab is seeking to commission an individual, organisation or team to create a ‘toolkit’ or resource to support civic tech practitioners in making their work more accessible. Sound like something you could do? Full details are here.

What's up next?

You can book now for forthcoming TICTeC Surgeries. All are welcome to join the discussions on how to fix some of the most pervasive problems in our sector.

The next two topics will be civic tech and climate action; and civic tech in hostile environmentsreserve your place here for free.

What we're looking at (and listening to)

Did you know that you can subscribe to our special interest newsletters too? Get an extra monthly bulletin on Democracy & Campaigning, Freedom of Information, Better Cities & Councils, or Research. Pick and choose your mySociety newsletters here.

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mySociety is a registered charity in England and Wales (1076346) and a limited company (03277032).
Through our trading subsidiary SocietyWorks (05798215) we also provide commercial services.
Image credits: Bats -  Biodiversity Heritage Library (CC by/2.0); Insulators - iStock/sturti; Cat: Clay Banks
Copyright © 2022 mySociety, All rights reserved.

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