The UK Parliament’s Commission on Digital Democracy is investigating the opportunities digital technology can bring for parliamentary democracy in the UK. It will make recommendations in January 2015 and welcomes views from everyone.
The Commission is currently asking for views on the its third theme: Representation.
Questions they are asking:
What will democracy look like in 15 – 20 years?
Will the digital era lead to pressure for more direct democracy, such as crowd-sourcing, referendums and citizens’ initiatives?
How can MPs make better use of the internet and social media to represent their constituents – and how can constituents use these tools to ensure they are being represented in the way they wish?
Does social media enhance the local link for MPs, or undermine it by involving them in more national and international discussions?
Information about politics
How can online provision of information about elections be improved, including details of where to vote, how to vote and the results?
The news media is changing rapidly – and the ways that people consume information, including news, is changing fast too. Will objective information about the political process continue to be easily available, and even if it is, will citizens be willing to seek it out?
Can we expect continuous election campaigning through digital channels – what would citizens feel about that and would it undermine or strengthen representative democracy?
Note: The Commission will be consulting separately on the issue of online voting in elections in September, but if you have thoughts you wish to share before then, they would still be pleased to hear from you.
To have your say, visit their website, email or post on any of their social media channels before 31 July.
What’s happening in Wales?
Since the launch of our e-democracy strategy in 2010 the Assembly has put effective use of technology at the heart of everything we do.
Assembly Members make use of technology to access papers, communicate with each other and cast their vote in the Chamber. They tweet, Facebook, link-in and YouTube practically everything they do! The people of Wales can submit and sign petitions via our website and tell us their views via social media and web-chats. They can also watch proceedings live or on demand on Senedd.TV, our dedicated channel for broadcasting Assembly business, or search for key words in our bilingual Record of Proceedings. And thanks to the work we have done on Machine Translation with Microsoft, people all over the world can now translate text between English and Welsh in Microsoft Office, simply by clicking ‘translate’.
Following the Democratic Deficit events held in Wales last year the National Assembly for Wales’s Presiding Officer, Dame Rosemary Butler AM, also made recommendations for the Assembly which focused on what support can be provided to emerging digital platforms in covering our work.
Looking to the future, the Assembly plans to:
- work with digital and hyperlocal media and partner organisations to create a journalism hub in the Senedd that could provide content to new digital channels;
- make it easier to report the Assembly’s work by providing better communications facilities on the Senedd estate;
- make the Assembly’s data more open and accessible;
- ensure that Assembly Members are fully informed about how best to use the communication tools now available in this digital age.