It was great to spend Tuesday this week at CommsCamp 2013, the event for public sector communications folk organised by Ann Kempster, Darren Caveney and Dan Slee. Last week - at about this sort of time on a Friday, actually - I noted down a few thoughts on what I'd like to talk about when I ...
The simple, fast and effective tool to increase democratic participation
Create a way for your citizens to contribute to the agenda process that can become part of a conversation.
Combine a digital approach with a traditional and trusted form of campaigning.
Help guide people from informal to formal democratic processes.
Available to implement free of charge, the system is quick and simple to install.
ePetitions are an elegantly simple, affordable tool to give citizens a direct say in what governments discuss, and an effective way to increase democratic participation and engagement. By making the agenda-setting process more collaborative ePetitions use a traditional and trusted mechanism to develop new ways of working.
Our open-source ePetitions system was designed for local government clients, working with the European Union. It is in full compliance with the recommendations set out in the UK’s 2009 Local Democracy Act for voting to be restricted to those who work, live or study in the client authority’s area and manages the entire workflow of petition, from creation to resolution. Because ePetitions are one of the few ways members of the public can directly call local government to action they have become an important means for debate on local issues for many of our clients.
Bristol City Council
Bristol City Council was one of the first councils to use our ePetition system and has seen significant participation since the system started in January 2008. One petition has seen more than 30,000 signatories, while another has seen in excess of 10,000. Notable petitions have included:-
Better lighting and more police patrols on the cycle path: a petition pressed for a safer cycle route to encourage greater cycle use into the city and improvements in related environmental and community safety issues.
Keep Banksy: a petition called for a piece of street art by artist Banksy to be kept following demands for its removal. Following widespread, support the piece was preserved.
West Sussex County Council
A popular ePetition site which began in 2011. The highest signature count to date was for the petition Don’t Cut Us Out Campaign petition against cuts in care which received 4107 signatures, closing on 10 September 2012. The service continues to receive a good number of petitions monthly. The second petition to be hosted on the site, Speak Up for Vulnerable People in West Sussex closed with 2220 signatures on 16 February 2011, just one month after its launch, becoming the second largest petition on the site to date. This petition was also the first to show the new signature threshold icon which identifies when a petition has reached a minimum threshold. Many of West Sussex petitions continue to be a mixture of online and paper signatures which the new version is able to integrate and show easily.
“In the 10 years we’ve been using Public-i’s webcasting system, I am pleased to say the service received has been excellent. Due to the nature of the service the proactive responsiveness of the team at Public-i has been much appreciated by me and my colleagues. The service has significantly developed and become more comprehensive over the years and now assists us greatly. I do not believe that there is another webcasting company that could offer us more.”
Lesley Blue - Committee Services Manager, Democratic Services, Law and Governance, London Borough of Camden
Want to hear more?
If you are interested in ePetitions call us to discuss on 01273 821282
I am a big fan of epetitions – I think they have the potential to be a simple and elegant way of plugging citizen concerns into the policy cycle and to open up the agenda-setting process to include citizen-led issues in a more constructive way than through a media storm, which is really the only ...