Local e-petitions

Headstar reported the other day about the progress of the piece of legislation that will mandate local authorities to set up systems allowing residents to create e-petitions, and to respond to such petitions.

Under the ‘Local democracy, economic development and construction Bill’ (http://bit.ly/1nEC4Z), councils will be obliged to provide an e-petition facility and publish schemes for both electronic and traditional petitions, to acknowledge any petition to its organiser, and to offer a response, all of which should be published online.

I’ve got quite a bit of interest in e-petitions, not least as a result of spending time helping moderate them for Number 10 during my time there. I’ve seen how these things can work, and how they can be frustrating.

Learning Pool have been keeping an eye on the development of the need for e-petitioning by councils, and already have an e-petitions platform in development which we will soon be looking to engage local authorities in testing. As always with Learning Pool’s stuff, it will be based on open source technology and will be easy to use and very cost effective. If you’re interested, please do get in touch.

In a related development, Andy Gibson is going to be working with Dominic and Fraser to develop a data standard for e-petitions.

From next year, it’s probable that all local councils will be required to provide electronic petitioning tools to their citizens, and we want to make sure they all do it the right way, and in a form that means they can all talk to each other.

I’ve put my name down to get involved, and will ensure that Learning Pool’s e-petitions system fits in with any agreed open standards.

10 thoughts on “Local e-petitions”

  1. Dave, a very interesting piece. Fascinating that e-petitions they will now be made available via local government. Also, from the Headstar article, it looks like the Scottish Parliament are offering a similar service. I guess the key is to develop a handling process which is open and transparent. A clear policy on what will happen to those receiving overwhelming support is a must. The worst thing would be to open up government to citizens and then not act or not respond at all.

    As I’m sure you must know from your time at Number 10, e-petitions can become unmanageable due to the sheer volume. Some way of categorising would be helpful. Also, guidance on how to word petitions effectively would be helpful. Opening the gates is easy but managing the flood…. just some thoughts on a fascinating topic.

  2. I should probably mention a resource (www.ukep.org) originally intended for the EuroPetition project (www.europetition.eu) which might be of interest to some folks.

    *However*, it will shortly be superseded by an I&DeA community of practice under the newly formed Petition Expert Group….watch this space ….speak to you in Lincoln….

  3. Adam – thanks for the tips! 😉

    Fraser – yup, speak Friday. Am already a member of the CoP. Joining online networks is one of the few things I’m good at 🙂

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