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Using Weblogs to Support Local Democracy

Abstract

This paper addresses the important aspect of democracy at the local community level and the need for e-democracy tools. Communities require easy to use ways of accessing and sharing information and ideas, responding to consultations and participating in policy formulation. In this paper we focus on Community Councils which are the smallest local tier of the statutory framework of democracy in Scotland. The councillors live in the community they serve, know personally many of the issues and can readily judge the impact of new or changed policies and suggestions from government. Currently they represent their communities as best they can, relying on word-of-mouth and may therefore not be as inclusive as they otherwise might be.

The rapidly expanding public access to the internet and the increasing popularity of weblogs offer an opportunity for both the councillors and the communities to discuss issues together and lobby government for policy changes.