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Opportunities and challenges in e-democracy

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Setting the scene of the UK's egov and edemocracy agenda and opportunities for NZ's local government

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Opportunities and challenges in e-democracy

  1. 1. Opportunities & Challenges in e-Democracy New Zealand Computer Society 3 March 2010
  2. 2. E-democracy in New Zealand <ul><li>Looking at: </li></ul><ul><li>UK context </li></ul><ul><li>Bristol based activities </li></ul><ul><li>NZ local government </li></ul><ul><li>Influences and opportunities </li></ul>
  3. 3. UK local e-government programme <ul><li>Local e-government strategy released November 2002 </li></ul><ul><li>Local e-gov programme 2003-2005 – £80m </li></ul><ul><li>E-democracy project – £4m </li></ul><ul><li>Aimed at 380 local councils </li></ul>
  4. 4. UK local e-government programme <ul><li>Aim: all local councils offering all local services online </li></ul><ul><li>Achieved: electronic delivery of priority services </li></ul><ul><li>2009 local democracy bill – e-petitions to be mandatory </li></ul>
  5. 5. UK Digital Challenge <ul><li>Competition with £10m prize fund </li></ul><ul><li>Councils on own or in partnership </li></ul><ul><li>Joined up digital programmes </li></ul><ul><li>Tackling the digital divide </li></ul>
  6. 6. European funding for e-participation <ul><li>e-participation funding NZ$22million </li></ul><ul><li>21 projects </li></ul><ul><li>27 countries – incl. eastern European countries </li></ul><ul><li>Increase public participation with Euro Parliament </li></ul>
  7. 8. E-panel <ul><li>Online citizens panel…or e-panel with registration process </li></ul><ul><li>Online surveys, discussion forums, deliberative or other polls, live chats </li></ul><ul><li>Participants interact with each other and with decision-makers </li></ul><ul><li>Increases informed input into local authority decision-making </li></ul>
  8. 9. E-petitions <ul><li>Way for people to gather support for issues online </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes comes with discussion forum for each online petition </li></ul><ul><li>Petitioner encouraged to provide background information, photos, links </li></ul><ul><li>Creates a central space for all petition details </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages feedback </li></ul>
  9. 10. Principles behind initial e-democracy activities <ul><li>Taking existing processes online </li></ul><ul><li>Complementing traditional methods </li></ul><ul><li>Creating more opportunities for discussions and interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Less formal approach </li></ul><ul><li>Most marketing around topics – eg Banksy and recycling drove participation </li></ul>
  10. 11. E-Democracy conclusions <ul><li>Its not about the technology </li></ul><ul><li>Its about engaging with not engaging citizens </li></ul><ul><li>It is about making Democracy easier and more convenient </li></ul><ul><li>It’s about making democracy more inclusive </li></ul><ul><li>Local eDemocracy National Project, 2005 </li></ul>
  11. 12. Webcasting
  12. 13. Why webcast? <ul><li>Easier access to council meetings plus meetings archived for six months (average 500 views) </li></ul><ul><li>Meeting archived by agenda item and speaker – viewers select what they watch </li></ul><ul><li>Better public understanding of what the council does – humanises councillors </li></ul><ul><li>Easier to get involved and follow through consultations or engagement activities </li></ul><ul><li>Can use for podcasts, events, training and ceremonies </li></ul>
  13. 14. Comments from viewing public <ul><li>Ongoing evaluation by survey on the site </li></ul><ul><li>82% agree – “Webcasting is making the council more open and accountable for its actions” </li></ul><ul><li>59% agree – “I better understand the work of the council and councillors after watching a webcast” </li></ul><ul><li>“ A huge step forward for open local democracy in Bristol” – Female, 47 years </li></ul>
  14. 16. What else did we do in Bristol? <ul><li>What else did we do in Bristol? </li></ul>
  15. 17. Neighbourhood forums
  16. 21. Moved to New Zealand <ul><li>October 2008 </li></ul>
  17. 22. ALGIM survey <ul><li>Survey sent to all NZ Local Government through listservs during July / August 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Responses from 37 TAs - 43% response rate: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>23 District Councils </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>8 City Councils </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>6 Regional Councils </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Case studies mainly from participating organisations </li></ul>
  18. 23. Most common tools <ul><li>Online submissions (71%) </li></ul><ul><li>Online surveys (38%) </li></ul><ul><li>RSS feeds for news releases etc (33%) </li></ul><ul><li>Online bulletin board (32%) </li></ul><ul><li>Email alerts (27%) </li></ul><ul><li>RSS feeds for changes (25%) </li></ul>
  19. 24. Who’s using the tools? <ul><li>Communications / Public Relations </li></ul><ul><li>Strategy & Policy </li></ul><ul><li>Plus: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Committee Administration & Mayor / Councillors– General Information dissemination </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Regulatory – Directed Information Dissemination </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Youth Development – Interactive Communication tools </li></ul></ul>
  20. 25. Resources <ul><li>Cost </li></ul><ul><ul><li>73% spend < $50k pa </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5% spend between $50-150k pa </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3% spend between $150-350k pa </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Who carries out the work? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>38% in-house </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>8% outsource </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>46% mixture </li></ul></ul>
  21. 26. Constraints <ul><li>Moderate: </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of senior management / political support </li></ul><ul><li>Costs </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of staff resources </li></ul><ul><li>Major : </li></ul><ul><li>Costs </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of IT resources </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of community support </li></ul>
  22. 27. Expected new activities <ul><li>Online opinion polls – 41% </li></ul><ul><li>SMS alerts – 38% </li></ul><ul><li>Online forums – 38% </li></ul><ul><li>Web broadcasting – 35% </li></ul><ul><li>RSS feeds – 35% </li></ul><ul><li>Email alerts – 35% </li></ul><ul><li>Online surveys – 32% </li></ul>
  23. 28. Software providers <ul><li>Ubiquity, Touchpoint, Smartmail, Bang the Table </li></ul><ul><li>However, </li></ul><ul><li>CMS providing some activities </li></ul><ul><li>Some built in-house </li></ul><ul><li>Use of social media </li></ul>
  24. 29. Who’s doing what?
  25. 30. Social media <ul><li>22% use currently </li></ul><ul><li>30% plan to use </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube and Facebook most common </li></ul><ul><li>Some targeted at youth </li></ul><ul><li>Improves comms reach </li></ul>
  26. 31. Email / SMS alerts <ul><li>27% use email alerts </li></ul><ul><li>17% use SMS </li></ul><ul><li>Over 30% plan to use </li></ul><ul><li>Can target information for users eg business, events, geographical location </li></ul>
  27. 32. Online surveys / submissions <ul><li>Most commonly used tool </li></ul><ul><li>Most likely to have defined budget </li></ul><ul><li>Built in-house or using external tools eg Touchpoll, Survey Monkey, USuite </li></ul>
  28. 33. Online forums <ul><li>22% use currently </li></ul><ul><li>38% plan to use </li></ul><ul><li>Can be difficult to attract users </li></ul><ul><li>Good for pre-consultation / identifying issues </li></ul>
  29. 34. Online planning
  30. 35. Other future influences
  31. 36. New ways of working
  32. 37. Broadband
  33. 38. Open Government
  34. 39. Wisdom of crowds
  35. 40. Open Data
  36. 41. NZ e-government strategy <ul><li>“ By 2007, ICT will be integral to the delivery of government information, services and processes. This target has not been achieved by local government” </li></ul><ul><li>Royal Commission on Auckland, 2008 </li></ul>
  37. 42. Further information <ul><li>www.algim.org.nz includes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e-participation handbook </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>e-petitions guidance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>www.bristol.gov.uk/edemocracy </li></ul><ul><li>Carol Hayward – [email_address] </li></ul>

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