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The Big Society and electoral reform: Ecogrup21's day of debate

'We are going to see if today we can do something to avoid losing the most educated generation in history.'

Ecogrup21Catalonian economists and executives from Ecogrup21, a discussion forum for current economic and social issues, attended LSE Enterprise's day of debate on 23 June in celebration of their tenth anniversary.

Ecogrup21 explores the use of new technologies in developing the Catalan economic sector, developing guidance for Spanish administrations. They had sessions with Charlie Beckett from Media and Communications on the Big Society and with Dr Paul Mitchell from the Department of Government on electoral systems.

Ecogrup21Ricard Burballa, President of Ecogrup21, reviews the day.

'The debate we had this morning is just the kind of information we need. We contrasted the English situation with what's happening in Spain now, looking at the Big Society concept to see how it could be implemented in practice. We explored Cameron's speech, the Cabinet agenda, quangos working in local communities in areas such as the environment and a practical example of an organisation providing retirement homes. I wonder if using ideas from the Big Society could counter the protests in Spain.

'Next we looked at electoral systems across Europe. In Spain there is a proportional system, with a list for the country, not by constituency, and it causes problems such as a lack of accountability to the electorate. People are protesting not only about the financial crisis but also about the electoral system.

'These kind of debates open our eyes to new ways of improving democracy in Spain.'