For more than a decade, Britons have relied on Mysociety's Theyworkforyou to find out who represents them in Parliament (as well as the regional assemblies), find out what those people are doing and saying, and to get in touch with their lawmakers and their fellow constituents to hold them to account.
Theyworkforyou was revolutionary when it launched and remains revolutionary today -- it's literally the best civic/political engagement tool I've ever seen, and there has never been a time when Britons needed a tool like this more.
Today, more than 300,000 people rely on Theyworkforyou every month. The project is a nonprofit and relies on small-money, individual donations to sustain it.
Now, the Mysociety team is planning a heavy year to come for Theyworkforyou, including the heavy post-election work of setting up new MP profiles, making it easier to show when an MP changes parties (suddenly much more common!), more explanatory detail on votes, and a ton of behind-the-scenes maintenance.
They're looking for £25,000, and as of this writing they've got about £5,000 with 23 days to go. I just chipped in.
As an independent service, TheyWorkForYou can do things the official UK Parliament site can't or won't. For example:
* MP voting records summaries are one of the most used features on TheyWorkForYou – these are unlikely to ever be provided by an official service, as it requires manual reviewing and categorising of votes.
* Email alerts, so you don’t have to come to the site to see what your MP is saying or how they voted, or when a subject you’re interested is mentioned: it drops straight into your email inbox instead.
* The latest updates from the Register of Members Interests are shown on each MP’s profile – so that you can easily see information about any financial interest your MP has, or benefit they receive.
* Votes are discoverable by commonly known names, such as ‘bedroom tax’ (rather than ‘Spare Room Subsidy’) and ‘fracking’ (rather than ‘hydraulic fracturing’).
* We make it easier to follow debates by highlighting who’s speaking, and allow you to search and link to them, so you can share precisely what someone said, via email, Twitter or Facebook.
* A searchable archive of debates means that TheyWorkForYou is a rich, accessible and searchable historic resource – so you can find mentions of any topic, in debates as recent as yesterday or as far back as 1919.
Help TheyWorkForYou make sense of Parliament [Theyworkforyou/Crowdfunder]