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A report from the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) about getting citizens involved in e-democracy.

E-government is not only about improving service delivery. New technology can also be used to improve the way citizens engage with each other and with democratic institutions.

Local councils are actively experimenting with webcasting, online consultations, text messaging and other technologies in order to increase engagement with the communities they serve.

The Office of the e-Envoy recently concluded a consultation exercise to help them develop a policy on e-democracy. The IDeA has responded to that consultation (10 pages, 270 KB). The main recommendations made in the IDeA's response are given below.

The IDeA, with the LGA, ODPM and the Office of the e-Envoy recently organised a 'think tank' event on local e-democracy, which brought together experts from local authorities, central government, think tanks and academia to debate the issues. You can read the notes  (14 pages, 415 KB)of this event.

The IDeA is looking to undertake further research on e-democracy in order to develop a greater understanding of how e-democracy might increase citizen engagement at the local level. If you are interested in being involved in further research on e-democracy, please register your interest by emailing fred.baron@idea.gov.uk.

You can find more links and information on e-democracy in the e-government toolkit on IDeA Knowledge.

Summary of recommendations

  • The Government should explicitly recognise local government as the front line in democracy in the development of its policy on e-democracy, and should draw on the wealth of experience in local government of experimentation with democratic engagement.
  • The Government's policy on e-democracy should be aligned more closely with the forthcoming national strategy for local e-government.
  • The framework for e-democracy presented in the IDeA's response should be developed and tested with local authorities and other public sector stakeholders as part of the implementation of the Government's policy for e-democracy.
  • The development of the Government's policy on e-democracy should explicitly encourage public organisations to innovate and experiment with e-democracy projects and to share the learning from these initiatives. The Government should explore with the LGA, IDeA and others the mechanisms for how this might be achieved, across the range of themes identified in our proposed framework.
  • The development of the proposed Local Government Online national project should take into account the under-developed nature of local e-democracy in the UK. Thorough research and analysis of good practice from the UK and abroad should be conducted at the outset of the project. Care should be taken that the product made available is aimed at reaching disengaged groups, rather than providing a new channel for those already participating.


date created:22/4/2003 14:52:33

last updated:15/7/2003 15:12:49


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