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Lessons learned from ePetitions in Bristol Nov 2011
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Lessons learned from ePetitions in Bristol Nov 2011


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Lessons learned from ePetitions in Bristol Nov 2011 - Mike Brewin BCC

Lessons learned from ePetitions in Bristol Nov 2011 - Mike Brewin BCC

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  • 1. Bristol e-Petitioner Lessons learned from the day to day management of an e-petitions website Michael Brewin Bristol City Council Consultation Team
  • 2. Petitioning • Petitions have a constitutional basis: members of the public have a democratic right to petition their council • Petitions inform debate and can have positive outcomes that lead to change. They can:  bring an issue to the attention of the council for them to consider  demonstrate strong public approval or disapproval to something that the council is doing
  • 3. e-Petitioner: A growing online opportunity % Growth in Bristol citizens' Web Use 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Have web access Regular web use Have access but do not use 1999 2000 2002 2005
  • 4. What are e-Petitions? • Way for people to gather support for issues online • Petitioner can provide information, photos, links • Comes with discussion forum for each petition • Council promotes the service in general • Petitioners promote their issues • Creates a central space for all petitions
  • 5. Benefits of e-petitioning • Easy to use:  Can be started, read and signed on line  Provides background information and links  Accessible: More open and visible than paper  Can leave email for future update and progress  Feedback provided on the site • Opportunities for interaction:  Seeking clarity and addressing uncertainty  Engaging in informed debate  Checking status and progress
  • 6. The Process • Petition details submitted ~ online/paper • Confirmation • Moderation • Conclusion • Submission to council • Progress update
  • 7. Lead petitioner is responsible for… • Starting the e-petition • Providing background information • Initiating the discussion (not essential) • Promoting and encouraging support • Submitting the petition to the council
  • 8. City Council support by… • Checking validity and suggesting rewording • Providing help about how to publicise • Moderating discussions and writing reports • Making contact with ward councillors if required • Giving guidance on how to submit • Asking for feedback/report on progress
  • 9. Reports to the lead petitioner • 3 Documents sent to lead petitioner:  Briefing  List of signatures  Email of those to be kept informed • Briefing includes:  Confidence that the signatures are valid  Analysis of signatures by location  Analysis of discussions
  • 10. Engagement: so far... • • • • 85 e-petitions since 2004 65% by citizens, 35% by councillors Over 28,500 signatures Over 650 comments ~ for and against • Biggest response: • Against call for Banksy removal (3187): Councillor • Recycling plastics petition (4867): Councillor • In house Home Care Services (7923): Citizen
  • 11. Engagement: Number of e-Petitions by Year 2007 so far 30 2006 30 20 2005 5 2004 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
  • 12. Engagement: Most supported e-petitions Make A4 Bath Bridge safe for pedestrians and cyclist 579 Give us Transport for Bristol 586 796 Castle Park For The People of Bristol - NOT the Developers 1003 Museum of Bristol 3187 Against Banksy art removal 4687 Recycling Plastic 7923 Keep Bristol City Council in House Home Care Services 0 2000 4000 signat ures 6000 8000
  • 13. Engagement: Most discussed e-Petitions 22 No to the Ring Road 23 Museum of Bristol 31 Make Swing Bridge pedestrian and cycle use only 32 Recycling Plastic 37 Agianst Banksy art removal 0 10 20 30 40
  • 14. Case Study Recycling Plastics • The petitioner requests that Bristol City Council collects plastic for recycling within the black box collection scheme Cllr Muriel Cole
  • 15. Case Study Recycling Plastics • Ran for 9 weeks • 4,687 signatures, 32 comments. Strong support for recycling collections evident • Petition submitted to Council and referred to the Executive Member for Sustainable Environment and Neighbourhoods for consideration and response
  • 16. Quotes from Discussion • Any initiative to recycle plastics has to be welcome, and certainly looking at the activities of other cities, counties and countries indicates that BCC can do more • Given that plastics constitute a significant proportion of 'black-bag' waste and that Local Authorities are required to reduce the amount going to landfill to 35% of 1995 levels by 2020, it seems to be an obvious course of action and long overdue
  • 17. Impact Recycling Plastics • Council reviewed options. Decided too expensive to collect • Petition used in negotiations with supermarkets • Increased recycling facilities from 7 to 38 sites
  • 18. Case Study Banksy Art Removal
  • 19. Banksy Art Removal • The petitioner requests that Bristol City Council rejects calls from Conservative Cllr to remove the Banksy painting on Park Street at significant expense, and instead keeps it as a popular and amusing asset to the city for so long as Bristol residents continue to support it
  • 20. Background • Conservative Cllr called for Banksy to be prosecuted, and his work removed from the grade II listed building in Park Street • Followed a poll of 500 residents, 97% of whom wanted the work to remain • ‘Petition needed to ensure the work is protected from a vocal minority who do not seem to be interested in art or the opinion of most Bristol residents’
  • 21. Banksy Art Removal • Ran for 13 weeks       3,196 signed the e-petition 59% from within the Bristol area 28% from other UK locations 1.5% from outside the UK 11% missing postcode National and international media enquiries
  • 22. Impact Banksy Art Removal • Majority of discussion (73%) were for, 21.6% were against. 5.4% neutral • Drew attention to benefits to the city: financial, tourism and social • Submitted to Council • The art will remain
  • 23. Lessons learned • Attracts publicity ~ be prepared for media interest • Appeals to citizens and councillors ~ currently more citizens • Discuss as details submitted ~ seek legal advice on content if needed
  • 24. Lessons learned • Ensure Councillors and Officers kept informed when petitions go on line • Ensue all aware of discussion forum.The place to challenge, support and keep others informed • Ensure good links with Democratic Services and council procedures • Administration can be time consuming
  • 25. Lessons learned • Can impact on decision making processes • Can improve citizen engagement in democratic process:'s fabulous - makes it easy for busy working people to get a voice in local government very much appreciated :-) • Remember ~ customer focused service “The technology is great, but the most impressive part of the process was the superb service I got from the team at BCC - nothing was too much trouble”