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MySociety logo.png
mySociety logo
Motto We make websites that empower citizens worldwide
Founded 2003 (2003)
Founder Tom Steinberg
Focus Government transparency, civic technologies, Freedom of Information, citizen empowerment, open source
  • United Kingdom
Products TheyWorkForYou, WriteToThem, WhatDoTheyKnow, FixMyStreet, Pombola, Alaveteli, EveryPolitician, SayIt, Mapumental & more
Mark Cridge[1]
25[citation needed]

mySociety is an e-democracy project of the UK-based registered charity named UK Citizens Online Democracy.[2] It began as a UK-focused organisation with the aim of making online democracy tools for UK citizens.[3] However, as those tools were open source, the code could be and soon was redeployed in other countries.[4]

mySociety’s more recent mission has been to simplify and internationalise its code[5] to make it easier for people all over the world to run citizen-empowering websites. Additionally, through the Poplus project, it hopes to encourage others to share open source code[6] that will minimise the amount of duplication in civic tech coding.

Like many non-profits, mySociety sustains itself with a mixture of grant funding[7] and commercial work, providing software and development services to local government and other organisations.[8]

mySociety was founded by Tom Steinberg in September 2003,[9] and started activity after receiving a £250,000 grant in September 2004.[10] Steinberg says that it was inspired by a collaboration with his then-flatmate James Crabtree which spawned Crabtree's article "Civic hacking: a new agenda for e-democracy".[7][11]

In March 2015, Steinberg announced his decision to stand down as the director of mySociety.[12] In July of that year, Mark Cridge became the organisation’s new CEO.[1]


  • WriteToThem is a website which allows UK citizens to contact their elected representatives. Users do not need to know their representatives’ names: instead, using the mySociety software MapIt,[13] the site matches their postcode to its various constituency boundaries, before displaying elected representatives at all levels of UK government from local councillors to MEPs. Users can send messages to them from the site;[14][15] responses are then sent directly to the user’s email address.
  • Pombola is free open source software for running a parliamentary monitoring website inspired by TheyWorkForYou.


Poplus[19] is an international federation of organisations who benefit through the sharing of civic code and online technologies. It was set up in April 2014 by mySociety in collaboration with Chilean e-democracy organisation Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente.[20][21]

Poplus encourages the development of free, open source civic 'blocks' of software, which it terms 'Components'.[22] These are intended to save time for anyone making one of the classic civic tech tools for parliamentary monitoring, accountability, transparency, et cetera.

In 2014 Nominet awarded Poplus a place in the Nominet Trust 100[23]

Poplus components[edit]

The following Components were developed by mySociety. Those developed by other organisations may be seen on the Poplus website.[24]

  • SayIt:[25] software for publishing transcripts of debates (e.g. from parliaments, court proceedings and meetings[26]
  • WriteIt:[27] software for running a site that enables users to write to politicians, in public or private.
  • MapIt:[28] software for matching a geographical point with its legislative boundaries. MapIt underlies several mySociety websites such as FixMyStreet and WriteToThem, where it allows for a user to input a postcode and be matched to the correct authority or representative.

Other projects[edit]


Discontinued or passed to new owners[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Companies House filing history". Companies House. July 13, 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2015. 
  2. ^ "Overview of UK Citizens Online Democracy". The Charity Commission. 
  3. ^ "Of governments and geeks". The Economist. February 4, 2010. 
  4. ^ "UK's MySociety Releases How-To Guides, Source Code for Open Government Activists". Tech President. 2012-03-26. 
  5. ^ "Is Civic Hacking Becoming 'Our Pieces, Loosely Joined'?". Tech President. 2012-07-25. 
  6. ^ "PoplusCon: Lowering the Tech Barriers for Civic Startups". Tech President. 2014-05-02. 
  7. ^ a b "mySociety: Open democracy, open source". H-Online. 2008-09-19. 
  8. ^ Transparency in Politics and the Media: Accountability and Open Government. 2013-10-28. ISBN 9781780766768. 
  9. ^ Robert Jaques (30 Oct 2003). "Calling Coders for the Greater Common Good". The Register. Retrieved 2 Dec 2014. 
  10. ^ "Ideas for web activism sought out". BBC News. 5 April 2006. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  11. ^ James Crabtree (6 Mar 2003). "Civic hacking: a new agenda for e-democracy". Retrieved 2 Dec 2014. 
  12. ^ "10 Top Candidates To Become Government Chief Data Officer". Computer World. 2015-08-21. 
  13. ^ "MapIt : map postcodes and geographical points to administrative areas". 
  14. ^ "Site axes MP over 'fake' e-mails". 21 February 2006 – via 
  15. ^ Tempest, Matthew (20 February 2006). "MPs show no haste to post". 
  16. ^ "These tools let you map journey times in the world's major cities". Retrieved 6 August 2016. 
  17. ^ "Mapumental: Travel time maps". Retrieved 6 August 2016. 
  18. ^ New Directions in Political Science - Responding to the Challenges of an Interdependent World. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780230228481. Retrieved 6 August 2016. 
  19. ^ "Poplus". 
  20. ^ "Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente". 
  21. ^ "PoplusCon: Lowering the Tech Barriers for Civic Startups". 
  22. ^ "Three key takeaways from the 2014 Open Knowledge Festival". 
  23. ^ "Poplus — Social Tech Guide". 
  24. ^ "What Components currently exist?". 
  25. ^ "SayIt". 
  26. ^ MySociety launches SayIt, civic software for publishing 'smart' transcripts (Wired)|date=2014-01-17
  27. ^ "WriteIt". 
  28. ^ "MapIt". 
  29. ^ "EveryPolitician". 
  30. ^ "Gaze – the mySociety Gazetteer web service". 
  31. ^ Committee, Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Procedure (22 May 2007). "Public petitions and early day motions: first report of session 2006-07, report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence". The Stationery Office – via Google Books. 
  32. ^ "MySociety - Participedia". 
  33. ^ "The petition, the 'prat' and a political ideal". 13 February 2007 – via 
  34. ^
  35. ^ "Ideas for web activism sought out". BBC News. April 5, 2006. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  36. ^ "The story of Pledgebank / mySociety". 
  37. ^ "HassleMe". 
  38. ^ "A future for HassleMe / mySociety". 
  39. ^
  40. ^ Dean, Michael February. "HearFromYourMP: a little piece of mySociety history / mySociety". 
  41. ^
  42. ^ "FixMyTransport". 
  43. ^ Arthur, Charles (30 August 2011). "FixMyTransport uses crowdsourcing to solve travel problems". 
  44. ^ 29, Cameron January; Pm, 2015 at 12:04. "Running a site like FixMyTransport / mySociety". 
  45. ^ "Welcome to PopIt". 
  46. ^ "ScenicOrNot". 
  47. ^ "A new home—and a new purpose—for ScenicOrNot / mySociety". 
  48. ^ "ScenicOrNot". 
  49. ^
  50. ^ "Not Apathetic - not voting in the 2005 general election?". 
  51. ^ "Placeopedia: Wikipedia Meets Google Maps". Lifehacker. Retrieved 7 August 2016. 

External links[edit]