I was asked to take part in a Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy evidence panel session looking at Digital Democracy this week. You can watch the full session above or if you’d rather be spared my rants here’s what I see as some of the key issues or questions we need to tackle in Scotland:
Unlocking big data
- How can data (intelligence ) ensure we get the right services to the right people?
- How do we ensure data isn’t kept in silos within organisations and across sectors. We can be particularly guilty of this in the charity sector.
- Can we trust our government with our data and should people have open access to all their data?
- Too many local government functions still treat social media as a broadcast mechanism. How do we move towards ensuring government officials at all levels can use social media as an intelligent listening and engagement tool?
- 30% of Scots don’t have basic digital skills.
- 15% of Scots have never used the internet.
- Equipment and broadband access are still prohibitively expensive.
- Are we guilty of using digital exclusion as an excuse for lack of ‘digital first’ service planning within the public and third sector?
- Are we at risk of returning to an age when a narrow elite controlled the democratic process?
Do people actually want ‘Digital Democracy’?
- Much of the chat around digital democracy centres on the need for people to be constantly engaged with the democratic process or community action. Lots of people want a hands-off relationship with democracy – they just want their bins emptied and well trained teachers.
- Is there a danger that digital democracy adds even more layers of bureaucracy if it isn’t a truly fundamental shift in our thinking about democracy and government?
- Do we need to move away from a geographically-centred approach to democracy towards a more interests-centred approach if we are ever going to engage a significant chunk of the population?
I’d love to know what you think on any of these questions.