The more I think about what the outcome of the Digital Democracy Commission should be the more I’ve come to realise is that one of the biggest problems is that there’s no really clearly written of what democracy is in this country. It’s hard to know how to get where we’re going if there’s no consensus of where we are.

I wrote about this in my response to Emma’s last post in terms of a citizen user stories phrased as “as a citizen I want…”. Perhaps another way to do that would be to phrase them as:

  • As a citizen I can stand for election to be a national representative
  • As a citizen I can vote for a national elected representative every five years
  • As a citizen I can ask my representative for individual direct help on specific matters
  • As a citizen I can seek to influence the Parliamentary voting of my representative
  • As a citizen I can seek to influence the Parliamentary voting of other representatives
  • As a citizen work through third party NGOs to seek to affect the Parliamentary voting of my or other representatives
  • As a citizen I can respond to government / Parliamentary consultations
  • As a citizen I can petition government directly to attempt to influence change in Bills, proposals for changes in law and proposals for changes in policy

This isn’t a great list but working together with professional user researchers a comprehensive list could be produced. Similar work would need to be done for other personas potentially including, but not limited to the ones I mentioned in that previous post : the government, members of the civil service, MPs, people who work at Parliament, etc.

Following that there would need to be an open discussion to gain broad agreement on the lists.

Publishing statistics of how much each of these is done and via what channels in a transparent method a-la the GDS Performance Platform would also be very used (and highlight how hard our representatives work).

As Mike Bracken said in an article this week – GDS is working towards providing “government as a platform”. The DDC should be the very start of a continuous improvement process at Parliament to provide “Democracy as a platform” and the beginning of that has to top-class user research.

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