Online petitions will boost democratic link

PATHFINDER House could soon be following in the footsteps of Downing Street by offering internet users the chance to set up online petitions. Huntingdonshire District Council is considering using technology, found on sites such as, 10 Downing Street, whic

PATHFINDER House could soon be following in the footsteps of Downing Street by offering internet users the chance to set up online petitions.

Huntingdonshire District Council is considering using technology, found on sites such as, 10 Downing Street, which allows the public to set up and sign e-petitions.

A working group at HDC, lead by Councillor Andrew Gilbert, is recommending that e-petitions are introduced onto the council's website.

The technology is also currently used by some local authorities and, according to Bristol City Council, is the most successful e-democracy tool it has.

The working group was set up to consider how to use technology to promote the council's work and to get more people involved in local democracy.

Cllr Gilbert said: "One of my main concerns is to encourage local people to engage with local government over issues which concern their lives.

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"Anything which reasonably can be done to make this process easier is to be welcomed. I hope that we will have the ability to submit online petitions in the not too distant future."

Cllr Gilbert said the online facility would not replace traditional paper petitions and would be dealt with in the usual way as set out in HDC's constitution.

A report from the working group recommends that the council adds an online petition facility to its website.