June 1, 2005

Paliament website fails – report

by brian_turner

houses-of-parliament.jpg

According to a report entitled ‘Members Only? Parliament in the Public Eye’ by the Hansard Society, Parliament is failing to communicate effectively with the public it serves.

The Hansard Society is a non-profit organisation established to defend parliamentary democracy.

The report describes the organisation, procedures and general ethos of Parliament as out of date and says that it fails to make use of modern communication methods such as the Internet. It suggests improving Parliament’s website as part of a wider reform needed to improve communication with the public.

The report says that the website “remains, in essence, an online archival resource, impenetrable to most people, difficult to navigate, with almost no opportunity for interaction and a wholly inadequate search engine,”

The report suggests a number of improvements, including better search facilities and links to other sites, more focus on using the site to contact MPs, and the designation of a dedicated webmaster with overall responsibility for the site.

Piero Tintori, managing director of content management firm TerminalFour, suggests that Parliament could learn from the good use made of the web by regional government. He says that discussion forums, news updates and live election results are becoming widely available on council websites, enabling constituents to actively interact with council members and other citizens.

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