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Stephen Evoice

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Stephen Evoice

  1. 1. Improving citizen involvement through e-democracy Stephen Hilton Connecting Bristol Bristol City Council
  2. 2. Bristol’s location
  3. 3. About Bristol <ul><li>8 th largest city in England and Wales </li></ul><ul><li>Population: 393,900 </li></ul><ul><li>8.2% Black and Ethnic Minority residents </li></ul><ul><li>Students: 25,600 </li></ul><ul><li>Highest GDP in UK outside London </li></ul>
  4. 5. Council’s engagement history <ul><li>Long-established disability and equalities forums, scrutiny and select committees </li></ul><ul><li>Public forum space at meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Bristol Citizens Panel set up in 1998 – made up of 2000 residents </li></ul><ul><li>Consultation strategy agreed in 2001 </li></ul>
  5. 6. Consultation Strategy: Agreed 2001 <ul><li>“ Bristol City Council is committed to open and inclusive local government and to using a wide range of approaches to public consultation to ensure it listens effectively and considers the views of its citizens as part of its decision-making with the aim of ensuring its policies and services reflect the aspirations and needs of Bristol's diverse communities.” </li></ul>
  6. 7. Why e-democracy? <ul><li>Traditional methods of engagement mainly attractive to older, retired, white, middle class </li></ul><ul><li>To broaden input into local decision-making processes by making it easier </li></ul><ul><li>To create ongoing links with citizens </li></ul><ul><li>Evolve techniques of engagement to meet changing customer demands </li></ul>
  7. 8. From top-down to grassroots <ul><li>Interactive webcasting </li></ul><ul><li>Multimedia consultation </li></ul><ul><li>Local issues forums </li></ul><ul><li>Campaign Creator </li></ul><ul><li>E-panel </li></ul><ul><li>E-petitions </li></ul><ul><li>Online surveys </li></ul><ul><li>Consultation Finder </li></ul>2008 2000
  8. 9. Consultation Finder <ul><li>A database of past, present and forthcoming consultations </li></ul><ul><li>Searchable by area of interest and ward </li></ul><ul><li>Departmental editors add their own information </li></ul><ul><li>Allows publishing of results and feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Currently being redeveloped to share with partner agencies </li></ul>
  9. 11. E-petitions <ul><li>Way for people to gather support for issues online </li></ul><ul><li>Often 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>
  10. 13. Feedback & Action <ul><li>Recycling plastics – a lot more recycling points, cardboard collections but still no doorstep plastics collections </li></ul><ul><li>Banksy – one of highest supported petitions. Much loved street artist’s picture kept for now </li></ul><ul><li>Castle park – petition against development over part of the park. New plans being drawn up </li></ul>
  11. 14. Webcasting
  12. 15. Webcasting <ul><li>European funded eParticipate project through eTen programme </li></ul><ul><li>2-year project with partners in Czech, Slovakia, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Denmark & France </li></ul><ul><li>Aim is to increase citizen participation by 25% - currently low public turn out at most meetings </li></ul>
  13. 16. Benefits <ul><li>Easier access to council meetings plus meetings archived for six months </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 webcast events, training and ceremonies as well as meetings giving greater awareness / participation in other cultural and civic events </li></ul>
  14. 17. Joining up e-participation <ul><li>Second European funded project called Legese - “Easing participation in legislative processes” </li></ul><ul><li>Funded through eParticipation programme </li></ul><ul><li>Aims to help improve understanding of and involvement in the local implementation of European policies </li></ul><ul><li>Local authority partners in Czech republic (Wysocina) and Ireland (Fingal) </li></ul>
  15. 19. Legese in Bristol <ul><li>Brings together e-petitions, e-consultation, e-forums and webcasting on one website </li></ul><ul><li>Linked with Climate Change Select Committee – Bristol working to become a Green Capital </li></ul>
  16. 20. Bringing it all together
  17. 21. askbristol.com <ul><li>E-participation portal for Bristol </li></ul><ul><li>Provides access to Consultation Finder, e-petitions, webcasting and Viewfinder </li></ul><ul><li>Central point of access – prevents need to publicise multiple websites </li></ul><ul><li>Branding and cross-referencing throughout the site </li></ul><ul><li>Improving partnership working so that resource for the city, not just the council </li></ul>
  18. 22. Some facts and figures <ul><li>Around 40,000 signatures on 100 e-petitions - over 9,500 signatures on highest supported e-petition </li></ul><ul><li>Nearly 7,000 unique webcast viewers since October – State of the City debate attracted 1,200 views </li></ul><ul><li>Climate change discussions attracted 145 comments from 77 participants – around 3,000 views of the discussion </li></ul>
  19. 23. What’s next? <ul><li>Connecting Bristol and the DC10plus - focus on Digital Inclusion and innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Citizenscape – EU funded project under eParticipation – evolutionary step forward to incorporate Web 2.0 </li></ul>
  20. 24. Find out more <ul><li>Stephen Hilton </li></ul><ul><li>Email: stephen . [email_address] .gov.uk </li></ul><ul><li>www. askbristol .com </li></ul><ul><li>www. bristol . gov .uk/edemocracy </li></ul><ul><li>www.connectingbristol.org </li></ul>
  21. 25. Workshop Questions <ul><li>Are e-petitions the “killer application” of e-democracy or are they simply a “blunt instrument”? </li></ul><ul><li>Should authorities stop thinking in terms of “e-democracy tools” and start thinking about multi-media “democracy channels”? </li></ul>

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