A House of Lords committee is to question a minister tomorrow on how Parliament can use technology to better engage with the public. The move comes as the credibility of peers and MPs drops daily as the expenses claims debacle unfolds.
The committee is to question Tom Watson, the digital engagement minister, on how the House of Lords can improve public understanding of Parliament's work and role, and how people would like to interact with it.
The inquiry has already heard evidence from journalists, children, web specialists and the Hansard Society. Witnesses have said that, although Parliament's use of the internet has made progress in recent years, much could still be improved.
Suggestions include allowing the public to comment online about legislation going through the House of Lords. Another suggestion is that the Lords should draw the attention of the public to new laws that could affect them. There's also a call for tools which make Parliamentary material more accessible to the visually impaired.
Watson will be questioned about - how technology can enable better engagement between Parliament and the public
- what Parliament should do to embrace social media and web 2.0 technologies to improve the ways in which it consults
- what technologies the two Houses could use to allow the public to contribute in innovative ways to the work of Parliament
An audio stream of Watson's evidence can be heard live at 4.15pm from the House of Lords Information Committee.
An explanation of the inquiry has been posted on YouTube. Lord Renton, chairman of the Lords' Information Committee, is facing the camera. He asks how peers can make Parliament more interesting and what changes need to be made.