Evaluation Report

During 2009, the Ministry of Justice's Building Democracy Innovation Fund was externally evaluated. The evaluation was funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and carried out by the Evaluation Trust.

The evaluation covered all three rounds of the Fund, examining the operation and impact of the Fund and assessing the value and impact of outcomes from projects supported by the Fund.

A large number of participants and stakeholders were involved in interviews and an open learning event and we'd like to thank everyone who contributed to this. Your input was invaluable.

The final report can be found here - Download MoJ final report dec 09 (word) or here - Download MoJ_final_report_dec_09 (pdf).

The executive summary is available from here - Executive Summary Page, here - Download Executive Summary (word) or here - Download Executive_Summary (pdf).

Latest Posts

Opportunity for Entrepreneurs

Have you got an innovative idea to create social change using the Internet?

The Better Net Awards is an exciting new programme from UnLtd www.unltd.org.uk and the Nominet Trust www.nominettrust.org.uk to provide funding and support to entrepreneurs with Internet based solutions to the problems affecting our society.

Up to £5,000 is available to individuals living in the UK. 


To be eligible for an Award, you must have an original and innovative project that meets at least one of the following themes:

∙   Increases education about the Internet & Information Technology
∙   Promotes and addresses online safety
∙   Provides an Internet based solution to social, educational, health and environmental issues
∙   Increases digital inclusion and the use of new media for a social purpose

For more information on the Better Net Awards, please visit www.betternetawards.co.uk or email betternet@unltd.org.uk

We look forward to hearing from you!

Public Experience: end of award comments

PublicExperience.com is a site that asks the simple question; Wouldn't it Be Better If? The objective is to get users and employees of Public Services to express their ideas for improving these services in front of the Cabinet Office and the Innovators' Council.

The ethos of the project is that the public should be able to contribute ideas and feedback of their experiences without pre requist knowledge of which of the 1200 government organisation is responsible. The user's raw front line experience has value in of itself.

The MoJ Innovations Fund was a highly useful project, seeding the ability for this project to be created, and to go forwards from there, and should be repeated as it's a source of ideas and potential for other low-risk projects offering potentially significant reward.


  • The idea works: a single link from the netmums newsletter generated 200 posts in 24 hours.
  • The widget produced, and other related material, where they reached the right people, were picked up and promoted well   
  • The project will continue with funding and support from the Cabinet Office.
  • Developing the site including redesigning to increase accessibility from the site users feedback and responses of a small focus group.
  • Getting the people who posted on the site to identify with the site from their specific interests and connect the importance of  their experiences with public services.

    Lessons Learnt

    • Blanket advertising particularly with Facebook was not useful despite increased traffic to the site these visitors were passive. Publicity strategies were varyingly effective. Netmums found out about the project from an email, and generated significant traffic and generalisable, teachable, experiences.
    • Finding that one person who can have a disproportionate impact is incredibly difficult; we mostly failed. Successes can be rare, and require a significant amount of work generating nothing.
    • Collaborating with the relevant government organisation can require significant effort and maintainance. Staff and/or strategy changes in dependant groups can be a significant risk
    • The idea works, and the cabinet office want it to continue.  

    For more, see www.publicExperience.com 

    Yoosk is adapted for use with overseas institutions

    The Innovation Fund was designed to seed sustainable models for participation. Yoosk has proven that model by attracting further funding from 4IP, the Channel 4 initiative aimed at nurturing public service digital start ups and by winning contracts to apply its online dialogue software and expertise to a variety of contexts.

    One of our recent projects, funded by the MoJ, was Yoosk Parliament , which has become an ongoing platform connecting MPs and the public. 

    We are now going to apply the technology and lessons leant to a very different context: Vietnam. Yoosk's format will be adapted to pilot a platform for participation, specifically, dialogue between National Assembly deputies and the public. This project is being funded by the FCO.

    At the signing ceremony for the new project, Dr. Nguyen Si Dzung, Vice Chair of Vietnam National Assembly Office, stated “the website will enable the participation of Vietnamese citizens in legislation, and, at the same time, strengthen the relationship between elected deputies and the public which is in line with the policies of the Vietnam Government”.

    The joint announcement by the National Assembly and the British Embassy has received wide coverage in the Vietnamese press. The website will be launched in January 2010.

    Here is what has been said about Yoosk Parliament in the UK:

    "Yoosk's new parliament website is a brilliant example of the innovative ways people can now engage with local and central decision making online. "

    Michael Wills MP, Minister for Democratic Engagement

    ''Yoosk offers a very open forum where both question and answer have a dynamic and an immediacy. It opens out the debate and shows just who is asking what of whom. It also tests us in public as to the quality of our answers - and I believe it is important (particularly in these times when we politicians are somewhat unloved) to be out there to show everyone that we do care and care passionately -  which is the reason that I am sure we all got into politics in the first place!"

    Lynne Featherstone MP

     "Asking this question means that we are on Siôn's [Sion Simon MP, the Minister for Creative Industries] radar and he has been in touch to meet with us. This will enable us to influence, campaign, demand and highlight the digital injustice and discrimination we face."

    Alison Smith, Disability Rights Campaigner

    Fourth Policy Slam! event takes place

    The fourth event, with about thirty people, took place on 26th August, as part of the Molten Festival in Essex. The festival was a partnership between LIFT, London International Festival of Theatre, and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. The aim was to create a festival of contemporary art and participatory events that responded to the locality and involved the local community.  The topic was, ‘What’s the point of a festival?’ The consensus was that what mattered most was the cultural legacy.

    Fellow Democratic Innovation Fund winner Peter Anderson has developed the software to enable people to use consensus voting on the LocalEyes website. We are now testing this.

    I have written a description of Policy Slam! for peopleandparticipation.net. We have also been invited to write a description for the second edition of the Participatory Budgeting handbook.

    Tigers not words...

    We tried explaining the chance to improve public services using words, and people didn't really understand. We're now wondering if a comic of a cute panda and a gorilla with a laptop will make it clearer...