The Democratic Society will host the event “Taking control of politics: Can digital democracy help” in London, next February 9.
The main idea behind the workshop is to discuss which opportunities and experiences are available for citizens to engage directly in public decision-making using digital tools. The event will follow previous experiences from Belgium, Finland, France, Greece, Latvia, Slovenia and the Netherlands, as part of a European Commission funded investigation.
The networking meeting and a parallel online discussion forum will consider the current state of play of digital democratic participation in Britain and Europe. The event aims to come up with creative thoughts and concepts for the future.
Given the opportunity, there are some subjects and recommendations within digital democracy –beyond innovative ideas, good practices and lessons learned- that would be relevant to address.
Some food for thought might include:
- Evaluating crowdsourcing as a means of enhancing democratic engagement in the UK and the EU; as reads one of the ECAS’ studies on Digital Democracy. “Taking Decisions with Citizens and Not for Them.” Examples go from pilots of crowdsourcing legislation at EU level, to new models for supporting parliamentary candidates regardless of their party (i.e. More United case).
- The capacity to evaluate and generate knowledge (collecting, analysing and evaluating data) is critical to the success of digital citizen engagement, stated The World Bank in its practical guide on the matter.
- The role voting technology can play in facilitating public participation, increasing voter turnout and strengthening future electoral systems. Issues such as online voter registration, electronic voting and public elections audits, could all be well discussed.
- According to Nesta, cities, parliaments and political parties adopting digital tools to empower citizens in their everyday decisions will need to consider: keeping users informed, finding common standards for evaluation and, blending online and offline engagement.
- Creating and assessing effective mechanisms for engaging citizens (including youth, non-formalised and/or non-mainstream civic groups) in the process of coproducing decisions and legislation. “Engaging the unengaged.”
- Bringing back to the table MP Jon Cruddas’ speech on building a Digital State for Innovation and Democracy in the UK. Top priorities presented: digital inclusion, open data and digital democracy.
- And finally, are we also working on the “analog complements” to get the most out of the digital revolution? The 2016 World Development Report (WDR) examines this issue as well as how digital technologies can be a force for development.