eParticipation to support the Information Society

Challenges

  • Increase involvement in democracy by using ICT. 
  • Find good ways to support young people to discuss Internet problems and improvements. 
  • Encourage policy-makers to interact with the resulting ideas.

Piloted solution

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Distributed discussion

HUWY’s eParticipation innovation is the method to bring people into policy-making: distributed discussion. Networked hub websites contain information about the project, well-structured background materials, the results of young people’s discussions and feedback from policy-makers. There is one hub website for each pilot country, with localised information and language. Young people hold discussions in their own chosen settings: on websites (organisational or social) or in offline settings. The discussion was piloted in four countries: Estonia, Germany, Republic of Ireland and the UK. Discussion groups post their results on their country’s hub. The four country hubs are linked by an EU hub http://huwy.eu/: a global entry point and place to summarise results for EU policy-makers.

Benefits

Flexibility, inclusion and possibilities to scale up.

The distributed discussion model was devised to be as flexible and inclusive as possible: to enable young people to get involved in issues that were important to them, while they controlled the place and format of this involvement. It was designed to include youth groups who had their own online spaces, especially those already talking about HUWY topics. It was also designed to include more casual groups, meeting on social networking pages or even offline. The group discussion format encourages people to explore an issue, and possible solutions, with their peers. The hub websites hold information (in various formats) to support informed discussions, as well as publishing the ideas coming out of these discussions. On the hubs, policy-makers can provide feedback on these results and, ideally, use these ideas to inform their own work.

Quotation eParticipation is about reconnecting ordinary people with politics and policy-making and making the decision-making processes easier to understand and follow through the use of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). - European Commission: ICT for Government and Public Services

Related Project: HUWY: Hub Website for Youth Participation

Project Team

Ella Taylor-Smith
Senior Research Fellow
e.taylor-smith@napier.ac.uk
+44 131 455 2392