More informed about ePetitioning

mrhenderson Uncategorized 6 Comments

There have been a number of significant publications recently about ePetitioning, not least one I am supporting financially via Brunel University relating to a study of local systems after the implementation of the LDEDC Act.

Draw what conclusions you will; the good news is that the majority of authorities have implemented a local ePetition facility.  Having spoken to the democratic service manager in Lambeth recently it looks like despite repeal under the Localism Bill, there is still enthusiasm for local facilities and schemes.

Secondly, the EuroPetition project has just drawn to a close.  You can find the full project conclusions in slidepack form here, delivered by the project partners.  There are some good universal findings from this research – such as the 100 day rule – which suggests that 80% of signatures are likely to be collected within this time and subsequently that this is a sensible default petition duration.  It was also apparent that mobile access is now significant and provisions are needed to match consumer access behaviour.  Fortunately Public-i has already developed an iPhone app for their petitioner software…for imminent release.

Sweden and Spain faired very well with a significant number of local and European petitions received.  The UK was more disappointing and Italy was a no-go, I suspect this reflects both our cultural differences towards an integrated Europe.

Some interesting questions arose from the debate which followed the project review, such as “what is a successful petition?” and “what is more important, usability or standards?”.  The first question we managed to answer confidently – that success needs to be considered from the petition organisers’ perspective and it boils down to being listened to and being taken seriously.  The latter is a matter of opinion but we all agreed that petition clarity is paramount to achieve both support and success, particularly at the European level.

Thirdly, I have updates from Bristol City Council and Birmingham City Council and LB Lambeth in relation to the progress of their facilities.  In terms of the former the most interesting observation relates to the petitioners in that they seem to be the ‘usual suspects’.  This strengthens work by North Lincolnshire Council around providing a mechanism to sign and view petitions from DigiTV.

With the number of local systems growing we should end up with lots of interesting insight.  Watch this space!

Comments 6

  1. Panos Panagiotopoulos

    Thank you Fraser for all your help with our study! There are indeed certain interesting things going on. I would like to add a few observations.

    While visiting the LA websites, we observed that many initial petitioners did look like “usual suspects”. In many cases were websites had 1-5 petitions, most of the them (if not all) were organised by the same person or group!

    About the European cultural differences, my thought is that in the UK, people don’t wish to engage any more in participation that they don’t perceive as “meaningful”. People here have well-estabished opportunities for consultations or similar activities and they are quite used to them. In other places in Europe, they might be more enthousiastic at that stage. I also agree that the low European vision in the UK had an additional effect.

  2. Pingback: Survey Reveals ‘Confusion’ Over E-Petitions Implementation « E-Government Bulletin Live

  3. John Glover

    good to see you sponsoring research now!
    Our evidence of usage supports your findings. I was surprised however to see that INOVEM were not listed. Is this because we do such a good job of branding our client sites that they were invisible to your researchers?
    For example, see:

    1. Post

      Hi, John. Perhaps!!

      I’m sure Panos will be keen to review the above.

      While I’m in comment mode, I will also point out a Swedish company ( who have just started to roll-out an ePetition facility for various Swedish municipalities.

  4. Panos Panagiotopoulos

    Thank you for letting us know John.

    In this exploratory study, identifying providers was not the main objective. We just started from the ones we had in mind and noted down a few more that we found. In a future study we can include INOVEM as a separate provider. Please contact me if you wish to find more about the study (email in presentation slides).

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