UK Citizens Online Democracy
UK Citizens Online Democracy (or UKCOD) is a registered charity in England and Wales.
At present, UKCOD's main activity is running the mySociety project. mySociety builds websites which give people simple, tangible benefits in the civic and community aspects of their lives. It also aims to teach the public and voluntary sectors, through demonstration, how to use the internet most efficiently to improve lives. The current flagship projects are:
- FixMyStreet, powered by the FixMyStreet platform
- WhatDoTheyKnow, powered by Alaveteli
- The Poplus Components partnership
Early history (pre-mySociety)
UKCOD was originally founded in 1996 as an experiment to find out whether people could use the internet to discuss and become better informed about the complex issues that affect their lives. It was also designed to enable the public to participate directly in, and affect the political process.
This initiative was not associated with any political party although politicians and citizens of all political persuasions were invited to participate, and this has remained true of all its various projects.
UKCOD’s first project, commissioned by the EU office of the European Parliament was to host and manage an online discussion on whether Britain should join the EMU. UKCOD was also heavily involved in research work contributing to the Freedom of Information Act 2000, including the Have Your Say website.
Recent history (mySociety)
UKCOD fell dormant around 1999, and was revived in 2003 by a new generation of trustees and volunteers, many of whom had previously worked together on independent online democratic projects such as Stand.org.uk and FaxYourMP (the predecessor to WriteToThem).
In Autumn 2003, UKCOD started a new project called mySociety which aimed to build more sites in the tradition of FaxYourMP. Over the next few years, mySociety developed and launched the projects listed above.
In 2006, UKCOD established a subsidiary trading entity, mySociety Ltd, to manage commercial activity. UKCOD is the sole shareholder of mySociety Ltd and retains any surplus generated by it.