E-consultation experiences

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E-consultation experiences

Four talks on e-consultations case studies.

Experience 1 
Social Policy On-line, by Patricia Donald

AdviceNI has run a number of e-consultations in Northern Ireland. Some involved independent advice agency workers, others brought in members of the public. In this talk, Patricia will describe their experiences from a pilot e-consultation initiative. Social Policy On-line. It attempted to make a link between those living on benefits and the policy-makers.

Patricia Donald is currently the ICT Co-ordinator with advice NI. Patricia has worked in the voluntary / community sector for over 10 years supporting groups to use ICT as a tool to further their work. Over the past 2 years she has been responsible for advice NI's Social Policy On-line project, a pilot e-consultation initiative working with front-line advice workers on policy issues impacting on their clients. Previous to that Patricia worked with the Women's Resource and Development Agency where her work included a partnership with Democratic Dialogue to trial work group software to build consensus on issues such as "What flag should be flown over Stormont?" and "Should there be a Women's Consultative Forum?"

Experience 2 
E-consultation – Gimmick or Good Practice? by Stephen Hilton

Local Authorities, public sector agencies and voluntary and community sector partners are increasingly using e-enabled approaches to support their consultation work. But just how effective are these approaches and what can be done to ensure that e-consultation does not become just another ‘flash in the pan’. This presentation will draw on Bristol City Council’s experience of running e-consultations over the last five years and on themes emerging from the evaluation of the Local eDemocracy National Project, which Bristol led.

Stephen Hilton has been Bristol City Council’s Corporate Consultation Manager since 1999. During this time he has established the Corporate Consultation Team’s reputation as an (award winning) innovator and as a lead council in the area of e-consultation, most recently illustrated by the team’s successful bid for round two e-innovations funding to e-enable community campaigns. Stephen’s interest in e-consultation led to the opportunity to coordinate the international, on-line e-moderators course offered by the Hansard Society also an invite to join the board of the Local eDemocracy National Project. In the latter role, Stephen has piloted several new approaches to e-consultation, including e-petitions and an on-line citywide citizens panel called AskBristol. He has also been responsible for leading the project’s major programme of research and evaluation

Experience 3 
5 years of on-line consultation with young people in Scotland by Ella Smith

Ella has been working with the International Teledemocracy Centre, at Napier University, Edinburgh since 2001 on a variety of e-democracy projects, including e-consultations, e-petitioning and e-voting. The International Teledemocracy Centre is a research department within Napier University in Edinburgh. ITC ran its first e-consultation in 2000, for the Scottish Executive. Since then they have worked on a variety of e-democracy and e-government projects, including research into ways to tailor or improve e-consultations for specific groups or purposes.

Ella’s main research project is a participatory design project with a youth parliament for the Highland region of Scotland, developing their e-democracy website. This includes an online policy debating forum and elected members’ discussion forum. Most of her research is centred on using ICT, especially discussion forums, to increase young people’s informed participation. Her talk will focus on this aspect, but also include highlights from some more diverse ITC e-consultation projects.

Experience 4 
21st Century Town Meetings by Lars Hasselblad Torres

At the end, by video-conferencing from Vermont USA, the researcher from America Speaks who has worked on e-consultations involving up to 6000 people. Download movie in Quick Time Format (20 MB)

As staff Researcher, Lars is responsible for coordinating AmericaSpeaks' investigations carried out through the Democracy Lab for Research and Innovation. Lars' activities focus on three primary areas of inquiry: the civic benefits of deliberation, policy and institutional impact, and the state of practice. Current scholarly activities include a year-long study of the impact of deliberation among Citizen Summit III participants, an effort to "map" the field of international deliberative democracy, and a "Smart Governance" report for the IBM Center for the Business of Government. Lars also steers AmericaSpeaks efforts to expand its application of online technologies to public deliberation.