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e-Petitioning for the Scottish Parliament

Objectives

The objectives of the e-petitioner tool, and the processes in place for its effective management in the Scottish Parliament, are to provide a service for citizens to raise concerns and have them addressed through the formal processes of parliament. Specifically:

Implementation

The e-petitioning system was developed through a partnership between the ITC, BT Scotland, and the Scottish Parliament. Their shared interest in online public participation struck a chord with the NGO WWF Scotland, who saw an opportunity for more effective lobbying, and raised the first e-petition to enhance the public profile of a campaign on marine national parks in December 1999.

Initially, a pilot e-petitioner system was developed by ITC researchers who worked with the Parliament to define the user requirements, also consulting WWF on requirements that would meet the needs of civic groups for an accessible and transparent lobbying tool. BT Scotland then implemented the software as a dynamic website.

The e-petitioner software was initially available as a pilot on ITC’s server www.e-petitioner.org.uk. Following the success of the pilot the Parliament and ITC agreed to re-engineer the software to fully integrate it with the Parliament’s own website, and specifically the Public Petition Committee’s pages and database of received petitions.

E-petitioner is implemented in Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP) and uses a SQL Server database to hold the petitions data. These technologies are widely adopted by Public Authorities throughout the European Union. E-petitioner uses the open standard XHTML 1.0 for web page markup, and ODBC (Open DataBase Connectivity standard) to connect to the database. These standards are deployed so that database management systems other than SQL Server (such as the open-source mySQL database) could be readily used instead.

The e-Petitioner System comprises 2 sections: -

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Key learning points

Key learning points have been:-

The Scottish Parliament e-Petitioner website

Links on this website

Partners:

Publications:

Each publication is linked to its reference

News:

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