Policy Tracker tracks the promises made by the government in their election manifesto – and offers ways to get more involved.
Once a general election has been held in the UK, Policy Tracker tracks the progress of each promise made in the winning party’s manifesto, and throughout their time in government.
We also provide links to resources so that you can get more involved in the issues you care about most – whether you are for, against, or just curious.
Please note: The site currently shows the status of the manifesto promises from the previous government (the Conservative Party, elected on June 8th 2017 to December 12th). We are in the process of preparing the policies from the new government, and will upload them to the site shortly.
Why do this?
In a democracy, everyone has an equal voice – or at least should have. In the UK relatively few people vote (in 2019 it was 32 million out of 56 million eligible voters) and far fewer are able to engage with the issues they care about – either becuase they don’t know how to, or don’t think it’ll make a difference. We want to change that, and help everyone to make their voice heard in whatever way works for them.
By developing this service we hope governments will be more accountable, and therefore better able to consider the views of a wider range of people in the UK. So for us this isn’t about politics or even democracy. It’s about equality.
We also think it’s pretty hard to get clear, unbiased information about political issues. Discussions and debates can be pretty adversarial, which also puts a lot of people off. Our non-partisan stance means giving you (and the media) access to information so you can make up your own mind, or start your path to learning on a more informed basis. Whatever you care about, we want to you feel like politics can work for you.
Available for all…
We’re proud to be following in the footsteps of other policy trackers like ‘Morsi Meter’ in Egypt and Trudeau Meter in Canada. Knowing how crucial these resources are, we want to make it easier for this kind of service to be available in every country. That’s why we’re making the website code open source, so it’s available to anyone who wants to use it.
We’ll also be making the policy data available via a feed. This will enable other websites or services to be built using the policy data, without the burden of having to create and maintain it. Please get in touch if you’re interested in using this.
How does it work?
We extract every single policy from the winning party’s manifesto. We research the progress of each promise, using a combination of online resources and talking to subject matter experts, in order to establish how far each promise has progressed. We write up our reasoning and give a status of either :
- Not started
- In progress
Thanks to a growing community of volunteers, the policy verdicts are kept up to date and revised when something significant happens. You can find out more about our approach in this blog post, and we have a Writing Style Guide that describes the consistent structure and tone we aim to achieve. We’ve also answered some common questions in our FAQ page.
Who’s behind Policy Tracker?
Policy Tracker is a Vote for Policies project. Vote for Policies is a not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers. It is non-partisan and independent of any political party or organisation.
It’s a lot of work keeping the site going and the policies up to date, but it’s also a great way to learn about different issues, and how government works. Please join us if you’d like to help.
This is a volunteer-run service, but we have been lucky enough to recieve small grants from the Andrew Wainwright Reform Trust and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust to help us get the Policy Tracker website to where it is now.
But it is no longer sustainable as a purely volunteers-run service – especially with such demand to develop this in the UK, and from organisations abroad wanting to provide the same resource in their country. We need paid staff to manage the editorial process, develop the volunteer community, and develop the outreach programs so the site works better for more marginalised groups. For this reason we are now looking for funding to pay for a small full-time staff and a budget for developing more partner programs.
If you’d like to get involved in any way, we’d love to hear from you.