New Year message from the Digital Democracy Commission

09 January 2015

Thank you very much for your support for the Commission over the course of 2014. It has been quite a journey and a very exciting one at that! Your input has been invaluable and to those who have submitted their ideas and views to the Commission, thank you very much. We have been really pleased by the level of engagement we have received.

The evidence collected by the Commission has now been analysed and we are now in the final stages of drafting the report. Your suggestions have been taken on board. A taster of views and suggestions we have received during our evidence gathering is as follows:

  • It’s not just about digital – Parliament needs to engage better overall
  • Parliamentary language needs to change so that it is simpler and clearer with less jargon
  • Parliament needs to listen
  • Go to where people / interest groups already are – Parliament and MPs should tap into existing platforms and interest communities (such as Facebook and Twitter) rather than expecting people to come to them
  • Social media, digital forums and crowdsourcing tools can be a useful means of increasing engagement between the public and MPs /Committees / Parliament but if these are to be used on a large scale, a means of digesting the various views expressed and presenting them in a way that can be of practical use will be needed
  • Parliament should try out new ideas and be prepared for these to fail sometimes
  • Parliament needs a rebrand
  • Digital tools can enhance democratic processes, but cannot fix any problems there may be within those processes. The systems they are built on have to be robust and well-designed, and it may be that changes to underlying systems will be required if digital tools are to provide a better / more effective democratic experience
  • Parliamentary information needs to be available on smart phones as well as in different formats i.e. easy read/ hard copy/ video etc. so that different groups are not excluded
  • Video should be used more to help explain and highlight what is going on in Parliament and summarise debates/ long reports in a way people can understand
  • There should be more open data (bulk parliamentary data available to citizens to download)
  • Having enough time to devote to communications is increasingly an issue for MPs and Select Committees as expectations on them to use various digital platforms increase
  • The e-petitions website should have more information and feedback about the impact of existing petitions.

The project is now drawing to a close and we are very pleased to say that the launch of the report is imminent!

If you would like to receive a confidential copy of the report in advance to write a blog or prepare something that will help publicise it, please do get in touch. 

Wishing you all the best for a prosperous 2015!

Image: Parliamentary Copyright           

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