Is E-‐Democracy a Myth? Civic Par)cipa)on and Democra)c Reform Dr Julie Freeman PhD, University of Canberra, Australia Sharna Quirke MSc, Public Sector TransformaDon Consultant, UK.
Literature review The focus of E-‐Government so far has been informaDon disseminaDon and transacDonal service delivery. Bekkers and Homburg 2007: Digital democracy is a myth of e-‐government Norris 2010: Empirical survey based evidence that e-‐government does not naturally lead to e-‐democracy Jimenez, Mossberger &Wu 2012: Governments have placed liNle emphasis on the development of online pracDces that enable civic contribuDon to impact decision making. Can government led e-‐parDcipaDon iniDaDves have an impact on democraDc governance? Using two case studies we explore the characterisDcs of e-‐Democracy both in terms of what it looks like and how it can emerge as a government led iniDaDve.
E-‐Democracy –TheoreDcal Framework Informa?on Consulta?on Par?cipa?on One way relaDonship where government produces and distributes informaDon to ciDzens The provision of informaDon which involves ciDzen feedback on issues predetermined by government AcDve involvement by ciDzens in the policy making process, in which ciDzens can propose policy opDons and share the direcDon of the poliDcal dialogue In Promise and Problems of E-‐Democracy (2003) OrganisaDon for Economic CooperaDon and Development (OECD) E-‐Government InformaDon TransacDons E-‐Engagement ConsultaDon E-‐Democracy ParDcipaDon
Case Studies-‐ Government led E-‐ParDcipaDon Criteria: • The use of ICT to achieve ‘parDcipaDon’ as deﬁned by OECD • Used a range of ICT based techniques speciﬁcally for broader poliDcal acDon and goals • Government led iniDaDve • European based Milton Keynes: Youth Engagement and Youth Cabinet Iceland: Cons9tu9onal Crowdsourcing
Local E-‐ParDcipaDon: Milton Keynes • ‘New Town’ in England and is 54 Miles north of London • PopulaDon of approx 250,000 with 22.3% under 16 years of age • Less young people at Youth Centres and outreach work increasingly challenging • Youth Workers started to explore the use of technology to increase parDcipaDon, including what parDcipaDon might look like
Used social media to share informaDon on behalf of council with the aim to connect with tradiDonally ‘hard to reach groups’. Culture shock: Shiding from informaDon sharing to targeted engagement was seen predatory Started as informaDon sharing and then grew into e-‐parDcipaDon. Acceptance: Young people wanted a role in the decision making, parDcularly transport and employment opportuniDes. Relinquished Control: of the council website allowing a page to be re-‐branded ‘My Say MK’ and the content management controlled by youth volunteers Local E-‐ParDcipaDon: Milton Keynes
NaDonal E-‐ParDcipaDon: Iceland ConsDtuDonal Crowdsourcing • PopulaDon 320,000 • Internet penetraDon of 95% of households • 2010 ranked 135 in the UN’s e-‐parDcipaDon index and jumped to rank 26 in 2012 • Civic Pressure: Collapse of the Iceland banking sector lead to poliDcal uncertainty and civil protest
NaDonal E-‐ParDcipaDon: Iceland ConsDtuDonal Crowdsourcing Change in Culture: New government was formed which led to consDtuDon reform, focussing on distribuDon of power, transparency and responsibility. CiDzens could join discussions, or convey their thoughts through Facebook, TwiNer and Blogging. Members of the ConsDtuDonal Council would post videos on YouTube and photos on Flickr. Power shid: Despite a referendum with 64.2% voDng in favour. Parliament did not pass the bill.
CharacterisDcs of e-‐Democracy-‐ what does it look like? • E-‐ parDcipaDon is conDnuous, open, transparent engagement between mulDple individuals and their government. • It is triangular not bilateral engagement using qualitaDve dialogue to achieve speciﬁc aims and objecDves. • It is Important to combine the online with oﬀ line methods of engagement
CharacterisDcs of e-‐Democracy-‐ How it can emerge as a government led iniDaDve? • Civic pressure • Government culture change is needed – acknowledging the change in civic behaviour – accepDng the e-‐parDcipaDon acDvity • Power shid must be allowed: The elected oﬃcials need to relinquish a degree of control LimitaDons: Accountability NegaDve ramiﬁcaDons of poor decisions
Conclusion • The focus to date has been on e-‐government not e-‐democracy • Greater focus needs to be given on understanding e-‐parDcipaDon and its potenDal to contribute to democraDc reform • E-‐democracy is not a myth-‐ but the case studies show three common characterisDcs which are needed • A gradual democraDc shid has begun Thank you. Sharna Quirke MSc Email: email@example.com TwiNer: sharnaquirke