Online Petitions for Birmingham City Council.

Kris Kowalewski at Birmingham City Council press office has sent me this:

Online petitions are set to be introduced by Birmingham City Council as a 21st Century way for citizens to express their views on matters of concern.  Under the plans, the new easy-to-use system, accessible via www.birmingham.gov.uk, will go live later this month.

E-petitoners will be able to upload external documents and images as supporting information and follow the progress of their petition through its life cycle thanks to a timeline function.  Additionally the system would give users access to support materials to market their petition to the public and be given the ability to create paper-based versions of petitions to run at the same time.

Those working on the scheme in partnership with the city council include Digital Birmingham and Service Birmingham.  Cllr Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The introduction of an e-petition facility promises to be major step forward for the city of Birmingham.  “It will provide an additional mechanism for people to have their say on issues – strengthening and broadening citizens’ access and participation in democratic decision-making.  “As a council we are committed to embracing modern technologies and enabling citizens to make the most of the digital age. This project is clear evidence of this.”

Funding for the system would be supplied by the EU, which would also foot the bill for any amendments and upgrades that are needed over the next two years.

The most prominent online petition system was created by MySociety for the 10 Downing Street site and has created all sorts of political ructions since it went live in in November 2006. It was an early triumph in the process of using the internet to nurture a conversation between governed and government.  The Downing Street site also gets used for local petitions, such as this one started by the Bradley Stoke Examiner in Gloucestershire.

The Scottish Parliament has also be at it since January 2007 and Kingston upon Thames was one of the first local authorities to get started back in February 2007.

Birmingham City Council will use the Public-i E-Petitions system used by the ones mentioned above and by Bristol City Council.  There is a set up cost this financial year of £7,500 followed by an expected annula running cost of £1,332, currently funded for two years from EuroPetition project.  Source from the Democratic services minutes here (pdf) and here (pdf).

Also see Jon and Stef.

3 comments

  1. Um, Nick – good to see developments with e-petitions being picked up, but the chronology’s wrong.

    The Scottish Parliament have had their system up and running for longer than anyone else – even now, they have petitions going back to 2000 online (http://epetitions.scottish.parliament.uk/list_petitions.asp?Offset=270). I know because the system was developed in collaboration with my employers, the ITC at Edinburgh Napier (http://itc.napier.ac.uk)

    Bristol and Kingston implemented versions of the same system shortly thereafter, with Bristol moving over to Public-i’s system a couple of years ago – I believe those are the dates you’ve picked up on.

    I’m actually working on the EuroPetition project, so I’ll be watching development with more than usual interest!

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