Also – not as much choice in 2008 as there is now and some options that are free now were not free then. Modern.gov – the supplier of our committee system agreed to work to develop an ePetitions system. Worked with them from August 2008 to December 2008 providing requirements and they doing the technical work. We had to consider a number of issues when planning our system including……..[next page]
Who could sign a petition Live, work, study (including children) (we didn’t open it up further but we had considered ‘play’ as well i.e. those who came to socialise in Lambeth) How do we confirm their identity? They must give an address and ‘captcha’ stops auto entries There is a debate about how far you go here. Do you make everyone register in advance for example. We decided to make it as easy as possible. How long would we host a petition for? Up to one year Did not include this in our original rules but realised we needed to. Decided on 1 year maximum as that was the same as Prime Minister’s ePetitions system. Who clears/sees petitions Legal clearance, department informed Legal services need to clear petitions to ensure no problems such as libel etc. They will also highlight if the petition does not conform to the rules. The department get 24 hours to point out any factual problems, e.g. not in the borough. Then petition goes live. Contents of ePetitions We had the government’s petition scheme to guide us but deciding what sort of topics are allowed is important. You also need procedures for dealing with rejecting petitions. Guidance information We created a guidance document for members of the public and information on our web pages to help those who wished to sign or submit petitions. As the first who used the modern.gov petition system to create this information it is now the basis of the guidance offered by many of the 130ish councils that have the modern.gov system.
The Leader of the Council, Cabinet Members, Leader of the Opposition have all set up petitions. Wide range of members of the public No ‘usual suspects’ yet Everything from taking away railings through to big new policies or asking the government to change their policies. Ice Cream Early petition which was quite fun. Education has featured in a number of petitions First petition was about removing some railings from the high street outside a shop. They were removed. An early success.
Internal publicity Does everyone know that the system exists? Are all senior people aware that complaints etc are being put up on the website? External publicity What can you do to raise awareness? What money do you have? Brighton went to the local shopping centre and handed out leaflets. Continuous development Particularly as an early user of this software it has evolved over time. This is obviously good but it also has an impact on how you run things. Making sure everyone knows what is going on and updating user guidance etc. Things that have changed include: adding paper petitions, rejected petition options. Procedures If you do not follow your procedures (e.g. getting responses out on time) then it is obvious to the public.. Make sure officers are not doing inappropriate things such as starting petitions. Publicity The more publicity the new system has the more people will use it. Equally, large or successful petitions will also encourage more petitions to be submitted. How easily can residents publicise their own petitions (e.g. through facebook, twitter etc) Politics It is important to ensure that the relevant Cabinet Member and the press office are aware of controversial issues as they are more obvious when on the website. Councillors will also use the system to publicise issues close to their hearts. This obviously can include opposition as well as administration councillors.
Social Media Improving links with social media tools. All our web pages now allow quick linking to social media tools (hundreds of them). Modern.gov developing RSS links for people to add to their sites System updates Add live, work, study options when signing petitions Improvements to layout on website Small improvements to administration section Petition Scheme No longer required to have ePetitions. Likely to continue as we are. Maybe with small changes as we go along.
ePetitions in Lambeth
ePetitions in Lambeth 18 March 2011 Välkommen till London Borough of Lambeth!
Summary <ul><li>Building an ePetition system </li></ul><ul><li>Deciding procedures and principles </li></ul><ul><li>Who uses ePetitions? </li></ul><ul><li>Lessons Learnt </li></ul><ul><li>The Future </li></ul>
Building an ePetitions system <ul><li>The situation in Lambeth </li></ul><ul><li>Buy a complete system </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No money </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use an open source system </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No IT support </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Persuade existing supplier to develop system </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Modern.gov agreed to develop system </li></ul></ul>
Deciding procedures and principles <ul><li>Who could sign a petition? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we confirm their identity? </li></ul><ul><li>How long can a petition stay live? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>And what information goes on the web? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Who clears/sees petitions </li></ul><ul><li>What can a petition be about? </li></ul><ul><li>A need to create a guidance document and web info for the public </li></ul>
Who uses ePetitions? <ul><li>The system was launched in January 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>34 Live petitions to date </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Plus similar number rejected </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paper petitions are also now in the system </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Councillors/Cabinet, Public </li></ul><ul><li>Small local petitions wide policy issues </li></ul>