The UK Audit
The idea of the democratic audit, or democracy assessment as it is also known, is a very simple one. A democratic audit is a comprehensive and systematic assessment of a country’s political life in order to answer the question: how democratic is it and how well are human rights protected?
The point is to enable citizens in any country to assess the quality of their democracy and to identify what reforms are needed to democratise their country further. A democratic audit can be a valuable starting point for empowering oppressed peoples or marginalised communities.
Our assessment methodology is based on the two basic principles of representative democracy – popular control and political equality: that is, how far do the people exercise control over political decision-makers and the processes of decision-making? And how far is there political equality in the exercise of that control?
From these two principles we derive the democratic framework of audit, or “search” questions, which enable people thoroughly and systematically to examine the quality of their democracy, human rights and public services.
The first three major Audits of UK democracy were published in book format between 1996 and 2003, as follows:
- Francesca Klug, Keir Starmer and Stuart Weir (1996) The Three Pillars of Liberty: Political Rights and Freedoms in the United Kingdom, London: Routledge.
- Stuart Weir and David Beetham (1999) Political Power and Democratic Control in Britain, London: Routledge.
- David Beetham, Iain Byrne, Pauline Ngan and Stuart Weir (2003) Democracy under Blair: A Democratic Audit of the United Kingdom, London: Politico’s (second edition).
The fourth audit of UK democracy was published in a web-based format in July 2012. It provides a comprehensive account of recent democratic trends in the UK and comparisons with other democracies around the world.
How Demococratic is the UK? The 2012 Audit – executive summary.
The 2012 Audit was written by Stuart Wilks-Heeg, Andrew Blick and Stephen Crone, with contributions from Lewis Baston, Dave Ellis, Raminder Samrai, Stuart Weir, David Beetham, Keith Ewing and David Whyte.