Parliament is failing the public, says Puttnam Commission - 24 May, 2005
Radical change essential to
close the communication gap with voters
Members Only? Parliament in
the Public Eye - the
report of the Hansard Society Commission on the Communication of Parliamentary
Democracy, chaired by Lord Puttnam - says Parliament is failing in its
democratic duty to communicate with the electorate and urges a fundamental
overhaul of its communication structure.
Parliament is effectively
sidelined from the centre of British political life. Members Only?
covers how Parliament must radically modernise its communication to
re-establish the crucial link between Parliament and the people, and the role
the media can play in this reconnection.
- Parliament should establish a single
communications service - bringing together various communication
activities that are essential to a contemporary democratic institution
- Parliament must take control of the
administration of its own affairs rather than be dominated by the party
- Parliament has to reassess its relationship
with the media, for example by relaxing rules for filming in the chambers
and precincts of Parliament. The media should then take this opportunity
to enhance their coverage of parliamentary business
- Parliamentary communications should engage
the widest range of citizens. This includes involving young people in its
processes and decision-making
Click here for a full list of Commission recommendations.
Lord Puttnam, chair of the
Commission on the Communication of Parliamentary Democracy, says:
"Change should be driven by what
citizens have a right to expect from their Parliament. Participation and an
understanding of the process of government are a right, not a privilege. The
public have a right to expect a Parliament which communicates its work clearly,
reaches out to all citizens and invites participation and interaction.
Acceptance of our recommendations would have the effect of reconnecting
Parliament with the people it exists to serve."
- For further information, contact Virginia
Gibbons at the Hansard Society on 020 7395 4010 or 07812 765 552 or email email@example.com
- Members of the Hansard Society Commission on
the Communication of Parliamentary Democracy are:
Lord Puttnam of Queensgate (chair); Jackie Ashley (vice-chair); Patrick
Barwise; Stephen Coleman; Matthew d'Ancona; Patricia Hodgson; Raji Hunjan;
Andrew Lansley MP; Martin Linton MP; Lord Renton; Peter Riddell; John
Sergeant; Richard Tait; Lord Tyler; Fran Unsworth; and David Yelland.
- Members Only? Parliament in the Public Eye (ISBN 0 905702 54 4) costs £25 and
is available from Dod's Parliamentary Communications. Click here for a Members Only? order form.