e-Petitioning parliaments, councils and the EU

Challenge

Bringing people into policy-making through e-petitioning.

To help people set the agenda for parliaments and local councils, so that their concerns are addressed. To create accessible, transparent and effective online processes, that both citizens and policy-makers are happy with.

Solution

Partnerships with parliaments and councils to integrate with their processes and maximise impact.

The International Teledemocracy Centre (ITC), now part of the Centre for Social Informatics, worked with The Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee and BT Scotland from 2000 -2007 to create e-petitions systems that were integrated with The Parliament’s processes and also empower the citizens and groups who petition The Parliament. In 2004-6, ITC worked with local authorities in England to implement a system adapted to their contexts and processes. From 2005-8, ITC were working with the Petitions Committee of the German Bundestag. We took our existing e-Petitioner System, and redesigned it in collaboration with their Online Services Department to produce an application to contend with the needs of a large European Parliament. We also demonstrated that e-Petitioner could be implemented in a language other than English. In 2008, we adapted the system for King’s College London Students Union. From 2009 -11, we worked with the EuroPetition project –this time using our experience to evaluate the implementation of Public-I’s e-petition system (an Open Source descendent of the ITC system.)

Benefits

Innovative, influential and integrated.

ITC were instrumental in the creation of the first e-petitions system to be formally part of a legislative system. While other e-petitions systems have suffered from duplicate or irrelevant petitions, The Scottish Parliament system and its descendants have continued to provide effective arenas for people to bring their concerns to decision-makers and to follow their impact. The online systems are fully integrated with the Parliaments’ and Councils’ offline processes, so that petitioners can follow the progress of their petitions in an easy and transparent way.

Quotation We believe that politics is far too important these days to be left just to the politician and that greater engagement with citizens would not diminish representative government but rather strengthen it by stretching the public space. - George Reid, the Presiding Officer (speaker) of the Scottish Parliament (2006)

Related Project: E-petitioner for the Scottish Parliament

ITC give evidence to House of Commons Procedure Committee (LINK, kB)

Related Project: e-Petitioner for English Local Authorities (LINK, kB)

Related Project: Euro Petition (LINK, kB)

Related Project: Expert Evaluation Team for the Local eDemocracy National Project (LINK, kB)

Related Project: King’s College London Students Union ePetitioner (LINK, kB)

Related Project: Piloting the E-Petitioner System with the German Parliament (LINK, kB)

Project Team

Kathy Buckner
(not currently an institute member)
Professor Ann Macintosh
(not currently an institute member)
Peter Eland
(not currently an institute member)
Ella Taylor-Smith
Senior Research Fellow
e.taylor-smith@napier.ac.uk
+44 131 455 2392