DDC post-launch event in Hull
On Wednesday 4 February, the Digital Democracy Commission was hosted by Hull University Union, on campus, for a special post-launch event. President of the Union, Richard Brooks led the occasion.
Commissioners Toni Pearce (President of NUS) and Professor Cristina Leston-Bandeira (University of Hull) gave speeches and this was followed by a workshop with the attendees.
The DDC published its Report on 26 January and this event was an opportunity to analyse its findings.
Cristina began by talking about how the Commission was formed and why. She explained how it was new and unique because it was outside Government and non-party political. She continued by saying how the Commission tried to involve the maximum amount of people it could, and it was open anyone who wanted to participate.
Cristina finished by introducing the Report and the 5 main targets in it.
Toni spoke about what the Report meant for young people. She highlighted that online voting was vital for young people and that 95% of student unions already use some form of online voting. Young people want openness from political institutions which was vital to bridging the current gap between politicians and young people.
The speeches were followed by a Q&A.
After the speeches, everyone assembled into small groups of 3 or 4 and ranked the 5 targets into which mattered the most to them. The 5 main targets were on posters stuck on the wall and the attendees stuck post-it notes on each one ranking them, with their reasons why.
Our 5 targets
In the Digital Democracy Report, the Commission outlined five key targets together with recommendations which are a route-map for the House of Commons to meet them. These five targets are:
- By 2020, the House of Commons should ensure that everyone can
understand what it does.
- By 2020, Parliament should be fully interactive and digital.
- The 2015 newly elected House of Commons should create immediately a new forum for public participation in the debating function of the House of Commons.
- By 2020, secure online voting should be an option for all voters.
- By 2016, all published information and broadcast footage produced by Parliament should be freely available online in formats suitable for reuse. Hansard should be available as open data by the end of 2015.
The most important target for Hull was: By 2020, the House of Commons should ensure that everyone can understand what it does. Almost everyone in the room felt this was the most important.
The new forum for public participation in the debating function in the House of Commons was met with reservations by some of the attendees. They said it needed participation by the parties themselves to be credible. Toni emphasised that the forum is not a 90s chatroom, it's a sophisticated forum for good critique of legislation and to contribute to it.
There was great discussion all-round and this was followed by a drinks reception.