Response 390342043

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About You

1. What is your name?

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Lilly Evans

2. What is your email address?


Engaging with Parliament

6. What is your opinion of the current opportunities for you to engage with Parliament?

Parliament website offers a layer of opportunities for engagement. These have been steadily growing in the last few years. Parliament needs to learn to market new options in widely available media in the ways that get people interested. Wealth of options for people to learnt about and actively contribute to areas of specific interest is vast. Yet it is poorly known. Off the top of my head, I have watched both live and recorded Select a Committee Meetings, got involved in submissions, followed up progress through Parliament of specific laws, searched through Hansard for laws and statements or answers by particular MPs.

7. How effective are online petitions as a means of getting involved in politics?

As someone who has signed several petitions online I have noticed that number of signatures is not necessarily the key to how effective they would be. I do not believe that petitions are the means of getting involved in politics. They help raise awareness of specific issues but do not require much involvement.

8. How could video and webcasting be used to encourage greater engagement with Parliament?

Parliament runs one way video and we casting system - we on the other end are passive consumers of what happens in specific rooms of HoC, HoL or in Portcullis House. Viewers even in real time have no channel of direct communication except for Twitter. In some occasions members of Select Committee in session would follow twitter feeds where those watching post comments or questions in real time and a few MPs actually use this information in the meeting. However this link is not facilitated by the Parliament. It depends on the tech savvy, interests and abilities of a handful of MPs. More should be made aware of the possibilities.

Direct democracy

9. Should citizens have more direct input into the political decision-making process, and if so, what would be the most effective way of doing this online?

One of the simplest and most effective ways of involvement in the Parliament decision-making process is in the early stages of law scrutiny. I have closely been following the passage of Infrastructure Bill through the Parliament. Reading the debates of HoL Reading Sessions is educational and fascinating. Seeing how the Bill 'fills up' and changes through the time is helpful and offers opportunities for political scrutiny crowdsourching. Scrutiny and reading of each clause of a new and important Bill is quite an onerous task and I am sure there are lot of opportunities for engagement in giving individual clauses to different groups of interested people to work on and feed to the Member of HoL responsible for discussing them. I have been really impressed by the diligence and hard work of all involved in the process.

10. Would crowd-sourcing be a useful addition to the consultative process?

Yes, as suggested above. It would need to be handled by HoL support staff or HoC support staff as Members clearly have much work to do already. Crowdsourcing consultative process to be framed in a way that clearly shows the benefits for all those engaged in it.

Facilitating dialogue

11. Is there a role for Parliament in facilitating dialogue amongst citizens about political issues?

It is an interesting idea but fright with all sorts of possible problems. It will be really important to address full pros and cons of such an undertaking and run several different pilot session first to get a sense of what is involved, what works, what are benefits, what not to do, how to choose audience, what role technology plays in the session and how can it be used later. So, yes there is a role but please proceed with utmost caution.