• Introducing the Coronavirus Debates

    A forum for non-experts to make themselves heard and listen to each other

    About the Coronavirus debates


    The Coronavirus debates are primarily a way for all of us non-experts to feel more included in public conversations about how to respond to the crisis and to better understand people who have a different view on what should be done. They're also a chance to learn from our team of debate trainers, who work with schools, charities, and businesses, how to improve the way we defend our opinions and respond to people who disagree with us, so that debates lead to decisions we can all accept instead of heated and divisive arguments.


    Unconventional debates for unconventional times


    Instead of inviting a panel of experts to do most of the talking with just a few minutes for Q&A with the audience, we are putting the non-experts front and centre and will devote the majority of the debate to hearing from as many of you as possible. The only expert you will hear from will be our in-house facilitator, an experienced debate trainer, whose job will be to help you turn the opinions you want to express and better understand into clear and persuasive arguments on both sides.


    Why we need to hear from non-experts too...


    The big choices facing governments as they decide when and how to exit lockdown are rightly guided by expert scientific advice, but are ultimately political decisions about what level of risk is acceptable. In a democracy, these decisions should reflect the values and priorities of the governed, not just the government, which means we all deserve to be heard, experts and non-experts alike.

    Next debate

    Who do you trust and why?

    Running order

    • 6.30 - 6.45: introduction and pre-debate poll
      A reminder of the running order and how you can take part in the debate before a quick poll on your Coronavirus priorities

    • 6.45 - 7.00: breakout room discussion in small groups
      A chance to get comfortable speaking in front of others and to work out what you'd like to say in the main debate

    • 7.00 - 7.30: main debate begins with open forum
      Share your view with the rest of the room - you won't be expected to take a position or go head to head with anyone else

    • 7.30 - 7.45: debate facilitator analyses open forum
      One of the club's in-house facilitators condenses the range of viewpoints expressed so far into the key tradeoffs that need to be justified

    • 7.45 - 8.15: main debate resumes with focus on tradeoffs
      Another chance to share - but you will now be asked to take a position on one of the tradeoffs highlighted by the debate facilitator

    • 8.15 - 8.30: evaluation of arguments and final poll
      Our facilitator returns with their assessment of the arguments on both sides before we see how many of you have changed your minds
When you share your personal data on this website, you are consenting to being contacted by the Great Debaters Club for either: the specific purpose of finding out more about a specific event, product, or service on offer; or the general purpose of being added to a mailing list to receive updates on events, products, or services on offer. 

The Great Debaters Club is a Limited Company that hosts the twice monthly public debate series, Debating London, and runs a training programme for paying club members and guests. We are registered with Companies House and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). The club's company number is 08145920 and our ICO registration number is ZA383930. 

As the sole employee of the company, Tony Koutsoumbos serves as both company Director and Data Controller.


All personal data collected by the Great Debaters Club is deliberately and voluntarily shared by the individuals to whom that data relates (data subjects) by asking to join the club's mailing list or becoming a member of the club.

The only data held on individuals on the club's mailing list are their given names, email addresses, and a record of which emails sent by the club they have opened and read.

The same data is held on individuals who have signed up for membership of the club, in addition to their home addresses, their membership tariffs, and a record of private communications exchanged between them and the club's Director, Tony Koutsoumbos. 

The club does not collect or store off-line the IP addresses of any individual that interacts with us, or details of the social media profiles and posts of individuals who join any of our groups or follow us on any platform.

The club does not have access to members' bank details with the exception of those who choose to pay for their membership via a direct transfer to the club's bank account instead of using either of our approved payment processing websites: GoCardeless or PayPal. These details are accessible only through the club's secure on-line banking portal and are not stored anywhere else or shared with any third parties.

The club also collects data on whether paid members are in full-time education or in receipt of state benefits, but only when given freely and required for the purpose of accessing discounts available exclusively to those members. These data are recorded on the club's membership database and are not shared with any third parties.

During our public debates, we also take photos of speakers and audience members, which we use to publicise the activities of the club, and we make audio recordings of the debate, which we use to write feedback summaries for the speakers.  


All personal data we collect is given freely and with full knowledge of the purpose for which it will be used, which is clearly stated. Specifically, we collect personal data in the following ways:

- through individuals adding themselves to our mailing list via our two websites: www.greatdebaters.co.uk and www.debatinglondon.com

- through individuals signing up to become paid members of the club, through one of our payment processing websites, or directly by confirming their intention to join by email and - when necessary - making payment via a on-line transfer direct to the club's bank account.

- through individuals adding their names and email addresses to sign-up forms distributed at events, which are promptly destroyed as soon as their details are added to the club's mailing list.

- names and email addresses are also collected when individuals post queries through our websites, email us directly, or sign up for specific events through Google Forms or Eventbrite. However, these details are not stored and are not added to our mailing list unless that individual specifically instructs us to do so.  

- photo and audio data are only collected during public debates (and very occasionally training workshops), which we announce in advance. Audio data from audience members is anonymised with only speakers named during recordings, consent for which is obtained when they join the club. Any participants who do not wish to be included in photographs are directed to the club's photographer to register their objection.


Personal data held by the Great Debaters Club is stored on an encrypted password-protected database, which can only be accessed by the club's Director and Data Controller, Tony Koutsoumbos.

We have reviewed the privacy policies of third party partners that hold personal data and sensitive personal data, such as bank details, of club members and individuals on our mailing list to ensure they are compliant with the GDPR, updating our agreements with them where necessary. 

In the event of a data breach, the club's Data Controller, Tony Koutsoumbos, will immediately notify the Information Commissioner's Officer (ICO) and any individuals affected by the breach, and keep both updated of the measures taken to remedy the breach.


We only ever share your personal data if required to do so for a legitimate purpose or to comply with a public duty. 

We do not share, under any circumstances, the personal data we hold on any individual for marketing purposes without their explicit consent.

The circumstances under which we do share personal data include:

- names of individuals or organisations, and the services or products purchased by them, issued with a receipt or invoice by the club, which we share with our accountancy firm for the purpose of processing the club's tax returns.

- connecting fellow club members by email, so they can communicate with each other when planning to speak together in a debate.

- sharing access to attendee names and email addresses when co-hosting an event with another organisation granted admin privileges on an event page hosted by an on-line platform, such as eventbrite or meetup. This is for the sole purpose of monitoring ticket sales and partner organisations are not permitted to email attendees directly, other than to provide them with information about the event they have signed up to attend.


All individuals whose personal data is held by the club are entitled to request the details of the data held and receive a timely response free of charge. You can do this by emailing the data controller at info@greatdebatersclub.co.uk or filling out a query form on one of the club's website. Queries should be addressed to Tony Koutsoumbos, but will be still processed and responded to in the same manner even if they are not.


Individuals on the club mailing list can unsubscribe by hitting the unsubscribe button at the bottom of any emails they receive from the club, which are almost always sent via messaging platform, Mailchimp.
Club members who are signed up to our training programme can unsubscribe by sending an email to club Director, Tony Koutsoumbos with the subject heading 'unsubscribe', which will be acknowledged by a confirmation email and result in your email address being removed from the members mailing list and the club's Google Group for members. Please note, if you do unsubscribe, you will be responsible for checking the details of upcoming training workshops and events, which you will be able to view on the club's website.