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Building a substansive petition system

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Deploying a substantive petition system (World Bank, Morocco, 2014)

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Building a substansive petition system

  1. 1. Building a Substantive Petition System Fraser Henderson December 2013
  2. 2. Formative proposal “2007: scrap the planned vehicle tracking and road pricing policy” "whoever came up with this idea might be a prat" 1.7 million signatures
  3. 3. “2007: scrap the planned vehicle tracking and road pricing policy” Response: Email from PM In his reply, the PM sets out the government's views on national road pricing, stressing that no decision has yet been made. Mr Blair says he sees the petition and his email as "the beginning, not the end" of the debate.
  4. 4. What was wrong? DISCONNECTED COMMUNICATIONS ROLE OF PETITIONS Bypasses Parliament Planned policy Constitutional rights No power to rebuke No power to force response No triggers No plans Factually incorrect Misleading “Nanny knows best”
  5. 5. “2006: Don’t remove Banksy painting on park street” “prosecute the artist who has done this to a listed building" 3187 signatures
  6. 6. “Don’t remove Banksy painting on park street”
  7. 7. What went well? CONNECTED COMMUNICATIONS SPECIFIC ISSUE Petitions Committee Officer Not complex Petition Scheme Help with wording Connect to decision making timetable Local Easy decision
  8. 8. Commonalities •Petitioners of any age •Official Languages Any language •Dealt with in open •Some topic exclusions •Safeguards (e.g. duplicates) •Obligation to receive and read petitions Duty to respond
  9. 9. Meaningful Petition Systems..
  10. 10. When is participation effective? CLEAR model
  11. 11. Set Realistic Expectations TOPICS AND EXCLUSIONS COMMON UNDERSTANDING
  12. 12. Controls TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT Where do I submit my petition? What format? Guides for public and elected members What to do with repeat petitions? Who can petition? HEARING PETITIONS CHECKS Validity Progress
  13. 13. Well Equipped POWERS RESOURCES Call to account Help petition organisers Study Visits Pre-petition phase Full debate Oral evidence…
  14. 14. Good Communications INFORMED STRUCTURED Outcomes versus output Petition Prayer Petition Progress TRANSPARENCY
  15. 15. Create Fair Conditions REQUIREMENTS PARTICIPATION REASONABLE Attainable thresholds Age Timetable Submit without fear Language Redress Nationality
  16. 16. Are Reflective 2007 = 1,506 Europetitions Environmental issues, water, etc Fundamental rights Urbanisation Education & cultural issues Social Affairs & Discrimination Internal Market & Consumers Health Justice Transport issues & Infrastructure Property & Restitution 288 226 131 103 207 192 105 99 88 72
  17. 17. Governors and Government must conceptualise petitions as..
  18. 18. Key Questions •Who can petition (including legal persons, elected representatives)? •Which tiers of government will accept or be governed by valid petitions? •How can petitions be submitted? •Are there any topics to be excluded? •How will process of hearing petitions be handled? •What powers will be triggered? •Extended right to reasonable timeframe and response?
  19. 19. "A successful petition doesn't have to be one that achieves its aim. If people see the issue is being taken seriously then they will be happy." - Dr P.Cruickshank (Napier University)
  20. 20. Building a Substantive Petition System Fraser Henderson December 2013

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