May 30, 2014 : Sally Dyson

Digital democracy at #DigiScotFest14

Just over two weeks to go, and we've added the Speaker's Commission on Digital Democracy to the lineup

It’s a sunny afternoon in Glasgow and I’ve just been told two brilliant pieces of news:

  1. We have almost 200 delegates at #DigiScotFest14
  2. We will be hosting a round table discussion with the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy as part of the Festival

There is a short blog from the Commission below, and the round table itself will take place at the end of the day, after the main Festival sessions close. Spaces are limited, so if you are interested in attending please drop us an email at and we will get back to you early in w/c 9 June.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt. Hon John Bercow MP announced the creation of the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy (DDC) in a speech to the Hansard Society in November 2013.

The objective of this Commission is to consider, report and make recommendations on how parliamentary democracy in the United Kingdom can embrace the opportunities afforded by the digital world to become more effective in:

  • representing the people
  • making laws
  • scrutinising the work and performance of government
  • encouraging citizens to engage with democracy
  • facilitating dialogue amongst citizens

The DDC also aims to consider the implications for Parliament if it is to become more relevant to the increasingly diverse population it seeks to serve.

The DDC wants to hear the voices of people who have not historically been involved with Parliament and politics, as well as hearing the voices of those people with detailed knowledge of the House of Commons. Unlike a Select formal parliamentary committee, the DDC is willing to take evidence, ideas and information in any format and has not stipulated precise rules about submissions. Even our terms of reference were openly and publicly sourced.

As a result of this, so far, we have had hundreds of unsolicited emails and phone calls, countless conversations via social media, taken face to face meetings with over 200 different experts, held roundtable discussion forums, conducted a youth-focused forum with Facebook, have Twitter followers in 14 different countries and we are planning a one-day policy seminar in July.   The Speaker has also written to the Vice Chancellor of every University in the UK, which has led to many offers of help, ideas and further contact with academics at the cutting edge of their specialism. We have run an on-line forum for politics students from nine Universities from across each nation in the UK, considering five separate themes, the results of which have been published. We have considered and continue to look at what public participation means with a wide range of people and organisations, from the “tech” world and businesses.

As part of the series of events being held by the DDC, to help us consider strategically what democracy might look like in a decade, while considering useful changes that could be or will be introduced in the short-term we will be hosting a roundtable at the Digital Scotland Festival on 16 June 2014.  One of our Commissioners, Helen Milner, will be chairing the session which will be focusing on how people want to engage with and access information on parliament digitally and how information could be made more accessible for the public. The roundtable will provide an opportunity for participants to put across their thoughts and ideas which will be fed back to all the commissioners.

For more information on the DDC please see our website, you can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

We hope to see you on 16 June!

Important: Opinions expressed by bloggers are their own and don't represent those of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

by Sally Dyson