The MSE Forum Team goes to Parliament

Can technology improve the access to and usability of the law?

Can technology improve the access to and usability of the law?

I’m sure many would agree that parliamentary bills can be long and somewhat arduous to digest. But Parliament’s on the hunt for new ways to communicate these in the digital age and on Friday, myself and the Forum Team gave it our views.

Hosted by the Parliament Digital Outreach team, we headed to Westminster for the very first #ParliTeaCamp meeting where we were joined by other online communities including We Nurses, Arrse (Army Rumour Service), Sustrans (a charity promoting sustainable transport) the Environment Agency and Our Diabetes.

A tea party isn’t a tea party without tea of course, so we were obviously supplied with fresh brew to help keep the ideas and discussion flowing.

We’ve all worked with the Digital Outreach team at Parliament in various capacities over the past year, helping to publicise certain bills and announcements on issues for our various areas and for our audiences.

On the MSE Forum, for example, we have an official Parliament representative who posts information and talks to our community on topics including changes to the disability living allowance, the annual Budget and on the Consumer Rights Bill.

This event was all about a new initiative – Digital Democracy (@digidemocracyuk) – under which Parliament wants to hear people’s views on whether technology could improve the access to and usability of both legislation and the law-making process.

Spearheaded by the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, we were asked how best to achieve this and on what we thought about the campaign itself.

We think providing people with options on how they can receive information, and making things more straightforward to understand, would be a positive step for the future.

Tour of Parliament

We were also fortunate enough to be taken on a tour of the Houses of Parliament themselves, including the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Our tour guide shared some interesting historical facts about our country’s political and legal traditions – for example, did you know you’re not allowed to sit on the seats in Parliament unless you are an MP?

And that anyone can apply to be a member of the House of Lords simply by downloading a form from Parliament’s website?

If you’re interested in doing a tour of Parliament you can do so for free by contacting your local MP. More information on this can be found on the Parliament website.

What are your thoughts on Parliament’s Digital Democracy? Please let us know your opinions in the discussion below or in the forum.