Commitments

Enable citizens to engage with parliaments and MPs using mobile and SMS technology

What are illustrative commitments

About this Commitment

Amibition Level

  • Innovative Step

Sources of guidance

Requires new legislation?

  • No

Justification

It is important to keep citizens apprised of parliamentary developments as they occur, and it is part of parliament’s responsibility to provide information in a timely manner. This can be done effectively by using alert services using mobile phones or email. The IPU recommends parliaments use alert services: “Alerting services, such as email, RSS, or other appropriate technologies that enable members and the public to be informed about important parliamentary actions such as the introduction of, and changes to, the status and text of legislation; members’ activities; committee activities; oversight and scrutiny activities; and plenary activities.” The Office for Promotion of Parliamentary Democracy also cites alert services as a crucial modern technology tool that parliaments increasingly use to enhance openness.

Recommendation

  1. Create a system that allows citizens to SMS in their concerns or to push out tailored legislative updates to subscribers on specific issues.
  2. Develop a system for receiving citizen input on draft legislation or on general concerns through SMS.