Read the Audit

A major new UK politics teaching and learning resource

A major new UK politics teaching and learning resource

Our fourth complete Audit of democracy in the UK was published in July 2012 and launched via exclusive coverage in The Guardian newspaper. 

The Audit brings together a vast amount of research and data to provide a comprehensive assessment of democracy in the UK, how it is changing, and how it compares to other OECD and EU countries. 

The Audit is built around a sophisticated framework originally designed by Professor David Beetham and since developed by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA). It provides detailed answers to 75 'search questions' dealing with all the key aspects of the UK political system, ranging from the operation of the electoral system to levels of civic participation and the extent of media concentration.  

By evaluating changes since the last Audit was published in 2002, we identify 74 areas of democratic improvement in the UK although these are counterbalanced by over 150 areas of concern, many of them  long-standing. 

We also compare the UK to other groups of democracies using  a series of statistical measures, generally finding that it lags behind the democratic standards of other North European states. 
We hope that the Audit will become widely-used as reference source by teachers, students and practitioners of politics, as well as by members of the public. It is free to access and download and is fully searchable.
In particular, the Audit has many potential applications  as a teaching and learning resource. Each of the search questions is answered on a separate webpage, and these can be linked to from other web-based platforms, such as virtual learning environments or teaching blogs. In addition, the website contains more than 200 graphs and tables which can be copied or downloaded as image files for teaching purposes, such as insertion into PowerPoint presentations (all we ask is that the source is acknowledged).  
How Democratic is the UK? The 2012 Audit, by Stuart Wilks-Heeg, Andrew Blick and Stephen Crone, can be accessed at http://democracy-uk-2012.democraticaudit.com/
However, the mass of evidence contained in the Audit is intended two very simple questions: how democratic is the UK and is the UK becoming more, or less, democratic?
 
By evaluating changes since the previous Audit was published in 2002, we identify 74 areas of democratic improvement in the UK although these are counterbalanced by over 150 areas of concern, many of them  long-standing. 
 
We also compare the UK to other groups of democracies using  a series of statistical measures, generally finding that it lags behind the democratic standards of other North European states. 
 
We hope that the Audit will become widely-used as reference source by teachers and students, as well as by any member of the public seeking to learn about the UK political system. The entire text is free to access and download and is fully searchable.
 
The Audit has many potential applications as a teaching and learning resource. Each of the search questions is answered on a separate webpage, and these can be linked to from other web-based platforms, such as virtual learning environments or teaching blogs. In addition, the website contains more than 200 graphs and tables which can be copied or downloaded as image files for teaching purposes, such as insertion into PowerPoint presentations. All we ask is that the source is fully acknowledged.  
 
Teachers and students of politics can also follow us on Twitter or 'like' us on Facebook to receive regular updates highlighting how specific sections of the Audit relate to contemporary political developments and news items.
 
The full text of How Democratic is the UK? The 2012 Audit, by Stuart Wilks-Heeg, Andrew Blick and Stephen Crone, can be accessed here.  
 
For a brief overview of the Audit and discussion of its findings see Wilks-Heeg, S. (2012) 'How Democratic is the UK? The 2012 Audit', Political Insight, 3 (1), September.

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