Councils should introduce e-petitions to boost citizen power, research paper says

Antony Savvas

Councils should introduce Scottish-style e-petitions to engage people in local politics, according to a New Local Government Network (NLGN) research paper.

The paper argues that allowing citizens to publicly petition councils to debate and review spending and policy commitments would give them direct influence over how local services are delivered and encourage greater democratic participation.

Some citizens, however, complain that this what some councils do not want.

NLGN says that e-petitions could become an effective tool in creating a constant dialogue between communities and their elected representatives, "helping to maintain a conversation in between elections and engaging voters, particularly young people".

The paper points towards "the success" of the formal e-petitioning process used in the Scottish Parliament, which allows citizens to raise issues and concerns.

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