E-Democracy Centre "surprised by speculation"

The International Centre for Local e-Democracy has been subject to some discussion on blogs and mailing lists, started by Professor Stephen Coleman questioning what we get for our money.

Is it new research and understanding? Or new tools to be used by governments? Or critical debate about the merits and values of e-participation? Perhaps someone can tell me what ICELE is for and why considerable amounts of public money should be spent supporting it?

Almost as interesting as the value or otherwise of ICELE projects has been the lack of online interaction offered by the Centre, and low profile in the discussion. Now the director, Rita Wilson, has responded on the UK and ireland E-Democracy Exchange.

Having been on holiday for a few days I was surprised to come back to lots of speculation about ICELE. First of all I would like to say that I am more than happy to provide information regarding what ICELE has been achieving and there is nothing hidden about our activities. But we are doers not talkers, delivering a programme to make a difference in how local authorities use tools and technology to move from consultation to participation.

Far from not being well known we have around 1800 subscribers to our newsletter and we get over 2700 visitors to our website each month.

Adding later:

Yes we promote the use of social media and have our Facebook site, but it isnt about what we do but about what we enable others to do that we should be judged  some of which will take years to fully mature. We dont know what our future is  but our passion to make a difference to how local authorities engage remains.

You can read the rest on this thread and judge for yourself.


  • April 15, 2008 - 11:30 am | Permalink

    Numbers aren’t everything. Our Policy and Performance Community of Practice (sponsored by the Improvement and Development Agency, find it here http://www.communities.idea.gov.uk) has almost 1200 members who all get our monthly newsletter.

    That on its own doesn’t pass the “so what” test.

  • socialreporter
    April 15, 2008 - 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Hi Ingrid – agreed on the numbers. I was going to add an ironic comment on the ICELE statement, about broadcast thinking .. but reading the whole thing on the list does it better.
    Sorry I didn’t get more chance to say hello at the IDeA workshop (blogged here earlier). Are you doing any public blogging again. Enjoyed your last bout. Wasn’t there something about the hamburgers of Calais?

  • April 17, 2008 - 9:48 am | Permalink

    Yep! Blogging again – starting this week. I’ve been blogging on our CoP site, but that doesn’t help people who rely on feeds (at the moment).

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