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Epanels and Issues Forums

Welcome to the EPIF wiki page. We've set up this WIKI page as a place to:

  1. "Park" questions that we'd like to save until later in the workshop before answering, but want to make sure that we don't forget.
  2. Collect links to online resources
  3. Store some of the tips and ideas that come out of this workshop

Links & Resources


  1. Epanels Files: Here are several useful files for folks interested in launching an epanels project.
  2. AskBristol: The Bristol epanel project.

Issues Forums

  1. E-Democracy.Org: An assortment of links and resources related to Issues Forums in the UK.
  2. Issues Forum Guidebook (PDF): Click here to download the latest version of the Issues Forum Guidebook. This is the most comprehensive source of information available about launching and maintaining a local issues forum.
  3. E-Democracy Experience (Flash): This Flash presentation includes some interesting video clips of participants of E-Democracy.Org talking about their participation in the forums. Clips include R.T. Rybak, the Mayor of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

"Parked" Questions/Issues

  1. Just how much work is involved in launching an Issues Forum?
  2. What stops a council-run activity being used to prop up bad decisions or exclude valid points of view? Which is more common: fair and open to all estates; or not?
  3. "On the question of governent consultation exercises and council funded e-democracy I am likely to take a critical stance and may even argue that these are detrimental to the development of genuine local community based self-governing group formations"
  4. I'm particularly interested in ways of knowing and means of non defensive responding, listening, and questioning in online forums and in face to face communication.
  5. My interest in e-panels stems from requests to design and use technology that combines the merits of having 'regular' participants with the scale, depth and transparency benefits of our current online processes.
  6. I know it is early days for issues forums in this country, but is there any evidence that this is actually occurring? Are local governments (representatives, research officers, etc) following/make use of the debates on these issue forums? What do people think about that?
  7. The potential for e-panels to visibly and directly influence the decision-making process seems greater to me, since they are more top-down and managed. But is this actually the case? How do e-panels fit into the broader decision-making process (ideally and in practice)? And who has (or should have) responsibility in local government for responding officially to a panel and for managing expectations (ideally and in practice)?
  8. Local Government and national government in Ireland are still learning about consultation and reality. There are already huge problems where people do not feel heard, do not know how their views are being taken on board and cyncism as to how effective the consultation is. Is this not the same in e-panels?

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