Citizens can voice their concerns with their council with Web Labs online ePetitions
Through petitions, councils have a valuable opportunity to demonstrate strong commitment to local service performance. This is part of the petitions duty in the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009.
Democratic renewal is about restoring trust and confidence in local government and its institutions. Its starting point is the citizen and this act aims to reinvigorate local democracy – putting local authorities at the forefront of the drive to reconnect people with public and political decision-making.
...80% of people are happy with their area, satisfaction with the way the council runs things is low at 45 per cent.
the Place Survey
The perception in communities that people can influence decisions that affect their local area is low so there is a duty to respond to petitions to address this negative factor.
The petitions duty was a commitment in the Government's Empowerment white paper 'Communities in control: Real people, real power' and was in response to the Local Petitions and Calls for Action Consultation which ran from December 2007 to March 2008.
Signing a petition is one way for citizens to express their concerns and priorities to their local authority, and some local authorities using web labs software have already begun to create petitions via the internet and approach them as an opportunity to listen to the community and demonstrate strong local leadership.
If your organisation is a local council and it does note make petitions publicly available your citizens are discouraged from trying to get involved in local decisions.
Council organisations can create ePetitions for some of the following reasons:
- Consideration of a major meeting
- Holding an inquiry: e.g: Under-performing schools, anti-social behaviour or under-performing health services
- Holding a public meeting
- Commissioning research
Local authorites can fast track deficiencies they might have in this regard with ePetitions from Web Labs.
The Key principles behind ePetitions from web labs are:
- Ensure that local people can to express their views via the internet
- Local authorities can take action to respond to petitions
- Citizens will know that their views have been recorded
- Refinement for local government with the new performance management framework in mind (NI 14: Avoidable contact)
- Build with our clients, the best practice and increased transparency for the local decision making process
Some initial benefits of weblabs ePetitions system are:
- ePetitions can be easily published on the principal local authority's website
- Web Labs ePetions can be revised at any time and be approved and publicised with email alerts
- Local authorities have a high level of flexibility about how they approach democracy – leaving a lot of scope for local determination
- Anyone can sign or organise a petition and trigger a response
- Citizens to create a petition which can be published online and made available to others for electronic signature
Screen shot gallery
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Assurances you get by building a petition with web labs
- A locally appropriate threshold can be set for population densities
- e-petitions facility is compliant with web accessibility standards
- no previous knowledge of council procedure is needed in order to submit a petition, the scheme is written in Plain English, people know what they have to do in order to receive a response
- Provision of signature methods suitable for your local council policy - e.g: Address, email etc
- Results are stored in an easy to respond to manner
- Responses can be published in a easy and accessible manner
- Legal friendly workflow for administrators
- Petitions can have related content published e.g:web video of the relevant meeting or to a online forum and most importantly, to the authority's published response to the petition
- Petitioners can amend and resubmit their views
- Petitioners can submit evidence like video and photos in a transparent and accessible manner
- Easy workflow to determine which officers can champion petitions
- Follow the complete cycle of petition from sharing results with petition organiser to planning meetings in your local authority