Headlines: October 25th, 2005

The Scottish Parliament’s innoavtive use of e-petitioning, allowing people across the country to interact with its Public Petitions Committee, has been shortlisted for a prestigious European award. The eEurope Awards for eGovernment are designed to recognise and reward best practice in internet projects among member states of the European Union, as well as in candidate countries and those states in the European Fair Trade Association.The nomination for the Public Petitions Committee comes after its pioneering use of the Internet as a tool for democratic engagement was highlighted at an international seminar earlier this month. The committee is a finalist in the Service User category of the awards, which will be presented at a two-day event in Manchester next month.

The Parliament’s use of the Holyrood’s in-depth website, its commitment to e-petitioning, and its focus on education work were among the issues discussed when the Presiding Officer George Reid joined speakers from around the world at the 6th Worldwide Forum on e-Democracy. At the event in Paris Mr. Reid explained how the Parliament used technology to encourage citizens to become engaged with individual issues and the political and decision-making processes. He also emphasised the importance of using the Internet to motivate young people to get involved.

The Forum examined how the e-petitions service allowed voters to interact with the Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee, by giving the public the opportunity to raise and sign petitions online and to comment on petitions through an interactive discussion forum online. Delegates also saw how the Parliament’s linked to the public by carrying webcasts of chamber and committee debates, interactive forums on issues such as draft legislation and committee inquiries, and dedicated pages for young people.