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e-Petitioning: Enabling Ground-up Participation

Abstract

This paper takes as background voter apathy and the emergence of petitions as a mechanism for political activity and considers the role of e-petitioning. It describes how an e-Petitioning System is being used to support the Scottish Parliament’s four key principles of: sharing power; accountability; access and participation; and equal opportunities. It highlights the increasing uptake of epetitions and the gradual understanding of how the integrated discussion forum can be used to facilitate dialogue on issues raised.

We briefly describe the Scottish Parliament Petitions processes and outline the key features of the e-Petitioner System, before showing how the e-Petitioner supports these Parliamentary processes. With a wealth of experience gained through operating the e-Petitioner System successfully at a national level, we then describe how this facilitated the re-engineering of the System for the specific needs of two Local Authorities in England.