Keeping the Receipts is a new project launched by the Citizens. We are a not-for-profit organisation using impact journalism to hold the government and big tech to account.

In Britain, we are witnessing a systematic assault on our democracy. From emergency legislation that has led to lucrative Covid contracts being handed out without due process, to a new police bill that threatens to restrict the right to protest, to the use of disappearing WhatsApp messages to conduct government business, we are seeing a rapid erosion of the foundations that underpin a healthy democratic society – transparency, openness and accountability.

Every institution is under attack: the NHS, the BBC, the Electoral Commission, Ofcom. Every mechanism used to hold the government to account is facing an existential threat: judicial review is under review, FOI is no longer fit for purpose. Every day, our rights as citizens are diminishing.

So this is our attempt to track it. Inspired by a project in the US, the Weekly List, we’ve decided to log every deviation from the norm. From the attacks on our democracy to attempts to privatise the NHS, to allegations of cronyism and corruption, we are going to keep the receipts.

This weekly newsletter, led by editor-in-chief, Observer journalist Carole Cadwalladr, will attempt to tell this story, to publish the project’s latest news as well as features, profiles, Q&As, guest editors, videos and more from the lawyers, journalists and activists seeking to hold the government to account.

For our subscribers, there’s an array of extras including special events and lots of opportunities for you to join us in a community effort to hold power to account.

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Tell me more about the Citizens

Journalism is at the heart of everything we do. The Citizens was born from the ashes of the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook investigation with the mission of finding new ways of holding power to account.

Because the old ways are broken.

So we are experimental by design. We are bringing the skills and knowledge
of filmmakers, academics, campaigners, lawyers, researchers, technologists, activists and many more to the service of public interest journalism.

See our other projects, Independent SAGE, the Real Facebook Oversight Board, our work on crony contracts, and our legal challenges here and here.

Highlights of the Citizens’ first year