On January 25th Alex Salmon announced that The Scottish Government would be consulting on the measures that will influence the proposed independence referendum of 2014. The consultation paper seeks opinion on a variety of measures includes voting age, days to vote and even the nature of the ballot paper itself. This is arguably the most contentious and important consultation of the year, influencing as it does, the potential breakup of the Union. Recognising the importance of the consultation, and the number of potential respondents The Scottish Government chose to use Delib’s Citizen Space, owing to, amongst other things, it’s unparalleled record of running the UK’s largest online consultations. Naturally, I therefore thought it would be worth a quick blog post to see how they’ve utilised the system.
The first thing you notice upon landing on the ‘Your Scotland, Your Referendum’ page is the clarity of the information presented. A participant can choose to look at the supporting documentation in addition to clear succinct headline information. The latter point is often overlooked, especially by organisations new to digital tools, who feel the need to promote transparency by bombarding a participant with a discouraging amount of information.
Once you click through into the online consultation which uses the ‘Quick Consult’ module within Citizen Space, you notice the way in which the offline survey has been mirrored online. Often internet tools can struggle with things such as multiple answer components, or indeed the ability to upload documents to support an answer; not so here.
It’s worth noting that the consultation seeks views from all UK residents, and not just the Scots, and I therefore implore you to take part. You’ve got until the 11th of May which, in combination with the ‘Save your response to return later…’ feature, gives you no excuse not to.