Epetitioning in the Scottish Parliament
This case study focuses on the use of an online petitioning system for the Scottish Parliament. The system, called ePetitioner, was developed through a partnership between Napier University in Edinburgh and BT Scotland. The objective of ePetitioner is to provide a service for citizens to raise concerns and have them addressed through the formal processes of parliament. Traditional petitioning merely allows citizens to add their name and address to a petition if they support it, typically without the opportunity to consider and reflect on the issue and also with no mechanism to register opinion against the petition. Adding technology to support such a push-button process is recognized by many as running counter to supporting democracy and therefore not enhancing participation. Therefore ePetitioner was designed from the outset to allow background information on the petition and links to third party websites to be added to better inform potential visitors to the petition web pages. Additionally, a discussion forum is integrated into each petition to facilitate discussion on the petition and allow arguments for and against to be voiced. We argue that these additional features added to the traditional petition process can be viewed as technology design aiming to enable more participative democracy.
KeywordsDiscussion Forum Citizen Participation Health Committee Participative Democracy Electoral Commission
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