A Tale of Two Consultations

One of the running themes on this blog is the importance of engaging with the powers that be, specifically through responding to government and European requests for comments on proposals.

You would think that those putting together such requests would do everything in their power to maximise the feedback they receive, but alas that's not always the case.

One excellent example of what *can* be done is provided by the Power of Information Taskforce. As the introduction explains to its report:

The Power of Information Taskforce was set the following terms of reference:

‘To advise and assist the government on delivering benefit to the public from new developments in digital media and the use of citizen- and state-generated information in the UK, including those identified in the Power of Information Review.

The Taskforce will consider the following sub questions:

How can government further catalyse more beneficial creation and sharing of knowledge, and mutual support, between citizens?

What more can and should be done to improve the way government and its agencies publish and share non personal information?

Are there any further notable information opportunities or shortfalls in sectors outside government that those sectors could work to rectify?’

Given the terms of reference, it would of course be a travesty if anything other than the fullest range of options for replying were available. The following comment hints at why the people behind it have actually got a clue:

The Taskforce wrote up much of its work as it went along on a blog. The dozens of comments made on the blog were enormously useful in pointing us to new information or supporting or correcting argument and we are grateful to all those who contributed.

And indeed, it's striking that in addition to being able to read the report online – and comment there – it is available for download in no less than four formats officially, including ODF and LaTeX: kudos for that. You've got about week left to comment (too little, in my view, given the novelty of the approach), and I urge you to do so.

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