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Report of the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy
Published: 26 Jan 2015

Who we heard from


The Commission held discussions around the country and spoke to a wide range of people. This included young people, adults with learning difficulties, people with visual and hearing impediments, voluntary organisations, people from the tech industry, academics, public sector workers, marketing and public relations experts.

14 April 2014: Liverpool

Discussion with staff and volunteers from Everton in the Community, the charity of Everton FC.

9 May 2014: London

Discussion with young people at Facebook in London

19 May 2014: Westminster University

Discussion with academics from Westminster University

16 June 2014: Edinburgh

Discussion with voluntary sector professionals as part of Digital Scotland Festival 2014

17 June 2014: London

Discussion at London Technology Week

30 June 2014: Chesterfield

Discussion with adults with learning difficulties in Chesterfield

2 July 2014: Marketing roundtable

Discussion with marketing industry experts in London

18 July 2014: secondary students

Discussion with year 10 citizenship students

21 July 2014: Cardiff

Discussion workshop organised by Swansea University

22 July 2014: University College London

Discussion with academics organised by UCL

11 August 2014: Stockport

Discussion with members of the public

12 August 2014: Model Westminster

Event organised by Model Westminster

4 September 2014: Leicester

Discussion with members of the public in conjunction with NIACE

Wednesday 10 September 2014: London

Roundtable with the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE)

Wednesday 17 September 2014: Brighton

Workshop at Brighton's Digital Festival

Thursday 25 September 2014: Sheffield Festival of the Mind

University of Sheffield's Digital Society Network organised this event which was open to anyone who had pre-registered

Friday 26 September 2014: Gov Camp Cymru

Discussion with members of the public, mostly from the public sector

Saturday 11 October 2014: Kenny Imafidon

Discussion with Youth Policy Advisor, Kenny Imafidon at the British Youth Council Convention

Saturday 11 October 2014: Birmingham

Discussions with young people at the British Youth Council Convention

Friday 24 October 2014: Belfast

Discussion with digital leaders and non-partisan political bloggers

Monday 17 November 2014: London

15 winning ideas from the “Hardcopy or #Hashtag?” regional workshops which took place between 8 September and 10 October. These were a culmination of the most innovative ideas from young people on how digital technology can increase youth engagement with Parliament and the political process. The final event was held during Parliament Week on 17 November where these ideas were presented.

Monday 24 November 2014: London

Discussion with PR experts

Discussion with young people at Facebook HQ in London (image: PC)
The Speaker talking to young people in Liverpool (image: Pete Carr)
Roundtable discussion in Stockport
Marketing roundtable

Student forums

Students from eight universities held discussions on each of the Commission’s key themes: making laws, scrutiny, representation, engagement and facilitating dialogue. They were led by the students themselves who produced summaries of their findings. The following students took part in the online forum:

Saga Barnard, University of Strathclyde; Lisa Childs, Cardiff University; Marian Craig, University of Strathclyde; Stuart Gray, University of Strathclyde Laura Griffiths, University of Hull; Joseph Jones, University of Leeds; Ben Kelso, University of Ulster; Lewis King, Demontfort University; Sara McLean, University of Ulster; Joshua Newton, University of Hull; Andrej Ninkovic, University of Hull; Emmanuel Oyeniran, Demontfort University; Katie Pearson, University of Leeds; Sophia Pellatt, Cardiff University; James Potts, University of Nottingham; Jessie Powell, University of Leeds; Peter Sinclair, Demontfort University; Peter Smeed, University of Surrey; Alex Wilk, University of Surrey; Katie Wood, University of Nottingham.

Meetings of the Commission

We held formal meetings at Westminster where we invited a variety of people from Parliament, organisations and academics to talk about different themes:

Conferences and Informal meetings

We had a wide range of informal meetings with interested people, and heard about digital initiatives which were already underway, including within other Parliaments; The National Assembly for Wales, The Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly as well as those from around the world:

30/01/2014 - Sharon O' Dea

03/02/2014 - John Hunter

06/02/2014 - TechCity

07/02/2014 - Dominik von Malaisé

10/02/2014 - Simon Milner, Facebook

12/02/2014 - Social media conference, Westminster

20/02/2014 - Anthony Zacharzewski, Dem Soc

24/02/2014 - Buzz City breakfast meeting

24/02/2014 - Geoff Mulgan and Francesca Bria, Nesta

27/02/2014 - Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho

03/03/2014 - Mark Kidson, Institute for Government

05/03/2014 - Social Media Leadership Forum

10/03/2014 - Peter Lewis, voXup online engagement tool

12/03/2014 - Abdul Shayek, YOCA

14/03/2014 - D-Cent/Nesta event

17/03/2014 - Telephone call with Daniel Swislow and Scott Hubli, NDI

18/03/2014 - Dr Cristian Vaccari, Royal Holloway University of London

24/03/2014 - Elena Findley-de Regt, content designers

25/03/2014 - Dr Andy Williamson, Democratise

26/03/2014 - Matt Rogerson, Guardian

27/03/2014 - Andy Tye, Syctl

31/03/2014 - John Stewart, Northern Ireland Assembly

31/03/2014 - Law Factory Project, Sciences Po, Paris' university

31/03/2014 - Tom Harrison

07/04/2014 - Simon Burton, House of Lords

11/04/2014 - Joe Mitchell

14/04/2014 - Ben Fowkes, Delib

18/04/2014 - Speaker’s visit to Estonia

22/04/2014 - Paul Corcoran, Agent Marketing

24/04/2014 - Phone call with Patrick Oliver, Culture Lab, Newcastle University

28/04/2014 - Policy Exchange event, The Hon Christopher Pyne MP, Australian Minister of Education

30/04/2014 - Hansard Society Launch of the 2014 Audit of Political Engagement

06/05/2014 - University of Westminster discussion

07/05/2014 - The University of Lincoln, introduction to digital voting

07/05/2014 - Paul Evans, House of Commons

08/05/2014 - Mr Speaker’s visit to World e-Parliament Conference in South Korea

08/05/2014 - Open Government Partnership European Regional Meeting, Dublin

09/05/2014 - Oliver Sidorczuk, Bite the Ballot

09/05/2014 - Mal Smith, Policy Plus

12/05/2014 - Brie Rogers Lowery and John Coventry,

12/05/2014 - Liz Price, House of Commons

13/05/2014 - Profs John McNaughton and David Runciman, Cambridge University

15/05/2014 - Conference call with Daniel Hammett, Sheffield University

28/05/2014 - OLDP Conference II Time has come for Law-Tracking, Paris

03/06/2014 - The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM)

04/06/2014 - Policy Exchange: The future of Digital Britain (2015 election)

05/06/2014 - Michael Simpson, Note my Vote

05/06/2014 - Matthew Hanney, Political Advisor to the Rt. Hon Nick Clegg MP

06/06/2014 - Daniel Hammett, Sheffield University

09/06/2014 - Fact Checking Conference, LSE

09/06/2014 - Natascha Engel MP

10/06/2014 - Policy Exchange

16/06/2014 - Dr Andy Williamson, Democratise

19/06/2014 - Constantine Gonticas, Millwall FC

25/06/2014 - Digital Economy Programme Board, Swansea University

30/06/2014 - Wikimedia/Demos

30/06/2014 - Ben Fowkes, Delib (Citizen Space)

30/06/2014 - Conference call with Liverpool University

01/07/2014 - Laurance Meehan, Local Government Association

01/07/2014 - Dr Ruth Fox, Hansard Society

02/07/2014 - David Sleight, Lincoln University

02/07/2014 - Action for Blind People

03/07/2014 - Teachers' Institute

08/07/2014 - Technology and democratic participation: friend or foe?, University of Westminster/Involve

08/07/2014 - Tinder Foundation event

09/07/2014 - David Sleight, Lincoln University and Paul Manners, National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement

10/07/2014 - Simon Cramp, Fellow of the Centre for Welfare Reform

17/07/2014 - Ayath Ullah, Model Westminster

17/07/2014 - Open Policy Making Team, Cabinet Office

21/07/2014 - PICTFOR Parliament 2.0 seminar

22/07/2014 - Jaan Priislau, Estonian Information Systems Authority

23/07/2014 - Burson Marsteller digital democracy roundtable

24/07/2014 - Valerie Thompson, e-learning Foundation

25/07/2014 - Meeting with Digital Skills House of Lords Select Committee

29/07/2014 - Meeting with Adobe

13/08/2014 - Conference call with Bite the Ballot

21/08/2014 - Dr Ruth Fox, Hansard Society

26/08/2014 - Ben Howe

26/08/2014 - Paul Rissen, BBC  

28/08/2014 - Areeq Chowdury, WebRoots

02/09/2014 - Rick Edwards, TV Presenter

03/09/2014 - Charles Eales and Neil Prior, Microsoft

05/09/2014 - Gabriel Straub, Tesco

09/09/2014 - Dr Amy Pollard, Involve

15/09/2014 - Speaker’s video speech to the Global Legislative Openness Week in Chile 25-26 September 2014

Global Legislative Openness Week in Montenegro 15 - 25 September 2014

19/09/2014 - Hansard Society and Britain Thinks workshop

22/09/2014 - Lori Steele, Everyone Counts

22/09/2014 - Mathew Bayfield, Big Data

23/09/2014 - Parliamentary Delegation from Chile and Mexico

30/09/2014 - Mr Speaker’s visit to Australia

02/10/2014 - ParliTeaCamp

06/10/2014 - Professor Mark Ryan and Gurchetan S Grewal, Birmingham University

09/10/2014 - Dr Dan Brown and Professor Philip Treleaven, UCL social media platform

13/10/2014 - Tom Loosemore, Government Digital Service

14/10/2014 - Open Data Institute, lunchtime lecture: Data for democracy

15/10/2014 - Helen Reeves, Electoral Commission

16/10/2014 - William Barker, Head of Technology and Digital Futures Strategy, Department for Communities and Local Government

21/10/2014 - Jonathan Brunert, BBC

22/10/2014 - Barclays MyZone presentation

22/10/2014 - Scott Hubli, National Democratic Insitute

24/10/2014 - John Stewart, Northern Ireland Assembly

27/10/2014 - Launch of mySociety report

28/10/2014 - Steven Clift, Global convenor, speaker and expert on open government, civic technology, and e-democracy

03/11/2014 - Smartmatic electronic voting demonstration

04/11/2014 - Simon Nicholls, House of Lords 

04/11/2014 - Chris Hanretty, UEA

11/11/2014 - University College London roundtable

14/11/2014 - Geoff Mulgan and Francesca Bria, Nesta

17/11/2014 - Parliament week event: Hardcopy or #Hashtag? Young People's Vision for a Digital Parliament

17/11/2014 - WebRoots panel discussion

18/11/2014 - Serbian Parliament/CRTA delegation

19/11/2014 - Tinder Foundation conference: Digital Evolution, Leaving no one behind

03/12/2014 - Google hangout with Ben Kallos, New York Councillor

09/12/2014 - Skype meeting with Swansea University

10/12/2014 - Warren Seddon and Tom Hawthorn, Electoral Commission

10/12/2014 - Andy Hamflett, AAM

12/12/2014 - Workshop with the PR Guild

Written contributions

The following submissions were received via email, blogs, Facebook, letters, video and Twitter. We received permission to publish the following submissions:

Advanced Computing Research Centre (Digi076)

Aileen Walker, Director of Public Engagement (Digi094)

Alastair Howard, Streetlife (Digi020)

Alistair Stoddart, The Democratic Society (Digi085)

Andrew Colver, Head of Democratic Services, Rushmoor Borough Council (Digi060)

Dr Andy Williamson, FRSA (Digi018)

Anonymous (Digi009)

Antony Carpen (Digi010)

Argyro Karanasiou, Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management, Bournemouth University (Digi019)

Arqiva (Digi065)

Bazil Saiq (Digi062)

Ben Kallos, Council Member New York (Digi097)

Ben Worthy, Birkbeck College, (Digi073)

Brian D. Loader, Associate Director SATSU, University of York (Digi095)

Caroline Lucas MP (Digi088)

Catherine Bochel, University of Lincoln (Digi059)

Change.Org (Digi067)

Christian Gutteridge, Southampton ECS Web Team (Digi036)

Claire Williams (Digi052)

Cllr Jason Kitcat (Digi047)

Cristian Vaccari Department of Politics and International Relations Royal Holloway, University of London (Digi086)

Darren Lilleker, Bournemouth Media School (Digi050)

Dave King (Digi033)

David Durant and second submission (Digi004)

David Farnsworth (Digi054)

David Noble, New Zealand Chief Parliamentary Counsel (Digi034)

Democracy Counts (Digi090)

Document Direct (Digi038)

Dr Paul Hepburn, University of Liverpool (Digi057)

Ed Hammond, The Centre for Public Scrutiny (Digi049)

Eliot Hughes (Digi006)

Everyone Counts and Everyone Counts' slide on participation increases due to eVoting (Digi083)

Frances G. Boul Hay (Digi064)

Fraser Henderson (Digi022) and second submission (Digi042)

Full Fact (Digi035)

Glenyan Cochrane (Digi023)

Hansard Society and Britainthinks event with the Hansard Society (Digi089a and Digi89b)Hansard Society and Britainthinks event with the Hansard Society (Digi089)


Ian Smith (Digi081)

Involve (Digi003)

James Thresher, Head of Digital Outreach in Public Information and Outreach Service, House of Commons (Digi092)

John Bennett (Digi070)

John Hunter, Your Democracy Ltd (Digi051)

John Stewart and Brian Devlin, NI Assembly (Digi030)

Jon Foster-Smith and Proposal for an app entitled "True Democracy" (Digi043)

Jonathan Elmer, Director of Democratise (Digi048) Second submission (Digi068)

Jordan Milton (Digi008)

Ken Knight (Digi025)

Kheira Belkacem, PhD (Digi027)

Lambeth Council (Digi080)

Local Government Boundary Commission (Digi053)

Lucy Denton, Former Digital Engagement Manager, House of Commons (Digi028)

Mark Ryan and Gurchetan Grewal, EPSRC project entitled "Trustworthy Voting Systems" (Digi016)

Martyn Lloyd (Digi041)

Mary Marshall (Digi056)

Max Richens (Digi012)

Michael A Carson (Digi044)

Michael Curtotti, Research School of Computer Science, Australian National University (Digi007)

Michael Woodhouse (Digi074)

Students' Union, Nottingham University (Digi002)

Oonagh Gay, House of Commons (Digi087)

Open Rights Group (Digi075)

Pam Roud (Digi011)

Paul Robinson (Digi005)

Prof Chris Reed, Queen Mary University London (Digi014)

Prof Christian Fuchs, University of Westminster. Communication and Media Research Institute (Digi026)

Prof Charles Pattie, University of Sheffield (Digi084)

Prof Paul Baines, Cranfield University (Digi066)

Prof Rachel Gibson, Director, Institute for Social Change, University of Manchester (Digi031)

Rob Windstrel Watson (Digi055)

Robert Sharp and his prototype for how a government report should be structured (Digi082)

Sam Smith (Digi013)

Scytl’s Cryptographic e-Voting Security Software; Issues guide on internet voting for Canada; French expats vote online in 2012 legislative elections; Analysis of French expat internet voting up until 2013; United Arab Emirates example; Gujarat, India example; The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) survey of internet voting; Democratic Audit's report 'Engaging young voters with enhanced election information'; The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) Norwegian E-Vote Project (Digi069)

Smartmatic, Philippines example, Venezuela example (Digi079)

StJohn Deakins, Citizenme (Digi001)

Stuart Long (Digi045)

Susan Hedley (Digi039)

Swansea University Computer Science (Digi 070) Welsh language copy

The Carnegie UK Trust (Digi061)

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (Digi096)

The Democratic Society (Digi015) and The Democratic Society second submission (Digi058)

The Electoral Commission (Digi077)

The Foundation for Information Policy Research (Digi072)

The Rt Hon. the Lord Knight of Weymouth (Digi101)

The Speaker’s Advisory Council on Public Engagement (Digi091)

Tim Knight (Digi024)

University College London (Digi063)

Valerie Thompson, Chief Executive, e-Learning Foundation (Digi046)

WebRoots Democracy (Digi078)

Wiki-sourced submission by Wiki Media UK and Demos (Digi029)

William Perrin (Digi017)

The Commission used an online consultation form for three of our themes. You can read the responses received via these forms below.


Susan Luckham (529293247)

Sailesh Patel (991306779)

Regards Citoyens (1049230371)

Peter Clark (772875545)

Peter Bottomley (937781278)

Norman Lee Plumpton Walsh (207245757)

Michael Bolsover (1006875465)

Marian Lewis (680983821)

Malcolm Morton (493533086)

Lawrence William Dolling (555650072)

Kevin Walke (868081982)

Jonathan Griffiths (1063661764)

Jiri Mucha (184301872)

Gordon Owen (129702309)

Gillian Dalley (941770430)

Emma Mulqueeny (1038285013)

Dipen Patel (534942384)

David Farnsworth (921447618)

David Durant (237726453)

Anant M Vyas (952133722)

Anonymous ( 310619015)

Anonymous (312637177)

Anonymous (389548220)

Anonymous (570690010)

Anonymous (822455382)

Anonymous (875118891)

Anonymous (1024870478)

Anonymous (65761201)

Anonymous (112511314)

Anonymous (258644655)