ADSO was formally launched at its first national conference held on 14th October 2009 and now has over 800 members.

With a potential market of up to 10,000 members, we think the establishment of a professional association could bring many benefits to all those working in the Democratic field.

The Association has established the following vision and mission:


‘To be a nationally recognised professional association, regarded as such by central government, our members and our partners.’

‘To represent, promote and develop excellent democratic services, for the benefit of all those working within the sector and those we support’

Aims of the Association

  • To promote the professional status of democratic services within all aspects of local and community governance
  • To foster the advancement of efficient and where relevant consistent practice in democratic services
  • To promote the professional development of its members by the provision of qualifications for all our membership and learning opportunities for all
  • To represent the democratic services profession through active engagement with others
  • To act as a body of influence on all matters relating to democratic services
  • To provide opportunities for the exchange of views and experiences amongst members of the Association and with others
  • To disseminate information and advice on all aspects of democratic services
  • To assist the membership in the development of good practice in democratic services


The Association has achieved a lot in its first few years including:

  • A well developed and popular Members Forum
  • Sponsored, for four years running (2010 – 2013) an MJ Award for Democratic Services Team of the Year
  • Responded to government consultations relating to all areas of Democratic Services
  • A comprehensive and affordable training programme
  • Launched an updated Certificate and High Level Diploma for those working in the sector
  • Set up the CIPFA Democratic Services Benchmarking Club

It has also agreed a three year Business Plan from 2014 – 2017.  Click here to access the plan.

For further information about ADSO please contact John Austin, ADSO Board Chairman.

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