The House of Lords Information Committee are holding the first parliamentary inquiry to allow members of the public to submit their views on video via YouTube.
This is the first time submissions can be made to a Committee in a format other than the written word - a departure from the usual process of submitting evidence in which individuals and organisations provide written statements on the issue being investigated.
The Lords Information Committee inquiry People and Parliament is looking at how the House of Lords, and Parliament generally, can do more to engage with the public, and ensure people are aware of what is happening in Parliament and that they feel able to contribute to its work.
One of the areas the Committee will consider is how Parliament communicates with the public and how it can make more use of online communication. The aim is to ensure the public feel able to interact with Parliament rather than passively receiving news from Westminster. The use of YouTube as a medium for the public to submit their views on this issue reflects the Committees desire to get as wide a range of peoples thoughts on the matter as possible.
As part of the same inquiry, the Lords Information Committee is also hosting a web forum on the Parliament website, allowing the public to submit their views on some suggested topics online.
Parliament using new media
The Information Committee's inquiry follows recent efforts by Parliament to engage with the public via new media.
Parliament is on Twitter and has over 5,000 followers, believed to be the second highest among UK government and Parliamentary bodies with only 10 Downing Street having more followers. The UK Parliament is also believed to be one of only two national Parliaments to have a Twitter feed.
Further efforts include the Parliament Flickr photostream with 124,000 views so far, and Lords of the Blog which allows the public to discuss Parliamentary issues with members of the House of Lords and the Parliamentary YouTube Channel which has had over 55,000 views.
Commenting, Lord Renton of Mount Harry, Chairman of the House of Lords Information Committee, said:
"This inquiry gives the public the chance to tell us in Parliament how they want to be involved in our work. Decisions are made in Parliament everyday that affect everyone in the country and it is important people feel they can be involved in that decision making process.
"We would love to hear from as wide a range of people as possible on how they would like to interact with Parliament. By using YouTube, and the web forum, we hope we will get comments from people who might not have submitted evidence to a Parliamentary inquiry before.
"If you have an opinion on how Parliament and the House of Lords responds to the public please get in touch and let us know. Parliament has made significant efforts recently to become more open to the public both at Westminster and online but I'm sure there are areas where we can still improve. This inquiry is your chance to tell us what those areas are."
Notes to Editors
- The Information Committee webpage with full details of the inquiry can be found at:
Call for Evidence
- The People and Parliament web forum can be found at:
- A YouTube video of Lord Renton launching the inquiry can be found at:
From this link you can also submit your thoughts on video to the committee via YouTube by following the Post a Video Response link.
You can view the responses so far on the People and Parliament Inquiry playlist:
- Parliament’s twitter feed can be found here:
It currently has over 5,500 followers. This compares favourably with the follower numbers for Government departments who have set up Twitter Feeds:
Communities and Local Government - 2,525 followers
Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs - 2,222 followers
Innovation, Universities and Skills - 698 followers
Treasury - 746 followers
Defence - 306 followers
Children, Schools and Families - 266 followers
Cabinet Office - 164 followers