State of Play: Re-use of Parliamentary Data
The ndings of the topic report indicate that the applicaon of Informaon andCommunicaon Technology (ICT) to the documentaon of legislave processes has becomea growing trend in parliamentary monitoring over the last decade. Dierent actors such asGovernments, Civil Society Organisaons, cizens and companies have begun to assess andmonitor the funconing of parliaments as well as their individual members.This has led to the creaon of hundreds of new, innovave and informave websites, toolsand services that make use of parliamentary data in order to beer explain, analyse,contextualise and visualise how parliaments actually work. The main objecves for theseevolving projects can be summarised in the categories:
overall accountability of parliaments and of the individual members of parliament(MPs) to the electorate,
increased cizens’ engagement in the legislave process, and
increased transparency by improved access to informaon about parliaments andtheir work.Although the objecves of these projects might vary, there is evidence that there is agrowing demand for more parliamentary data to be made available in a structured way, inmachine-processable formats and openly licensed allowing for re-use and re-distribuon of the data. The parliaments themselves and open-data acvist individuals and groups, inspite of occasional taccal dierences mostly share the same strategic goal of increasedaccess and democrac parcipaon. While the new approaches have opened up a vastrange of possibilies for cizens’ and parliamentarians’ interacon, these sll remainsomewhat under-ulised.
What issues are debated in your parliament this week? Did the polical party you havegiven your voice play an acve role in the legislave debate of a topic that really maers toyou? How did an individual Member of Parliament (MP) vote on an issue that really maersto you?In order to be able to answer these quesons we need informaon produced byparliaments, MPs and those following developments - be it the media, analysts, academics,think-tanks or lobbyists. While this has tradionally been the purview of a ‘middleman-class’ which relays the informaon between the electorate and the elected, newinformaon technology makes it possible for all - the electorate, the elected and themiddlemen to access far more informaon, to process it and analyse it in ways which werepreviously not possible. As this brief survey shows, the possibilies have been taken up
ePSIplatform Topic Report No: 2011 / 8October 2011Page 3