Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

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what's the point of egovernment if email doesn't count?

wendyg points out that the Home Office is treating the 8,000 online responses as a single response because Stand and Privacy International are a lobbying organisation and it was a petition.

So I've faxed my MP. What did I say? Well, I'm posting it here, but it just underlines that it's even more important to put your own views in your own words when you makes your views known.

Dear Mr Tony Colman,

when I fax you through the FaxYourMP online service, I don't expect you to take my comments any less seriously because they don't arrive in an envelope with a stamp on. And by the fact that you reply with your comments (even if we don't always agree on the matter - or perhaps especially because of that!), I believe that you don't. I'm not sure that the Home Office agrees and in light of the huge strides being made towards enabling egovernment, I'm concerned by this. Just because responses come through a particular site, they can no more be dismissed as an orchestrated lobbying campaign that doesn't reflect the views of the public than all the letters that are delivered by the Royal Mail rather than by hand; both methods are a delivery service.

According to Privacy International, the Home Office has decided to treat all the responses it received via the Stand site and the Privacy International telephone portal as a single petition rather than some 8,000 individual responses with different points of view. I understand that junior Home Office Minister Beverley Hughes informed the Commons on April 28th that there were only 2,000 responses on this basis. I strongly object to my response being counted as nothing more than a signature on a petition that was written by someone else. If the arguments in the responses seemed similar, perhaps it is because a number of people hold the same valid view? I'm also curious why a 'petition' signed by 8,000 people wouldn't be relevant to a consultation exercise that otherwise only engaged 2,000 people.

I'm writing to you to complain about the way my comments have been ignored by the Home Office and to complain about this treatment of responses to a consultation initiative that ignores the whole point of consulting. Please can you let me know if there are any avenues where you can raise these concerns.

thank you again for your previous replies and your willingness to accept comments in a variety of media

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