The UK government recently launched the new e-petitions website to give citizens a voice to petition the government online. By coinciding with the UK riots, the site received unprecedented hits with over 8000 petitions being created in 2 weeks and over 207,000 people signing a petition that convicted rioters should lose their benefits.
Unboxed Consulting as part of the Agile Delivery Network (ADN) built the new website in 5 weeks and provided the majority of the development resource. The site launched on 28 July with the functionality to create e-petitions and went fully live on 5 August once data had been published. With great interest in e-petitions, peak demand was over 5,000 users per minute and the team had to work with the hosting providers to resolve a few issues.
e-petitions is a hot topic and received wide media coverage at the launch with the BBC Breakfast News mentioning it every 30 minutes. It gives UK citizens a voice and makes government more accessible. Commons Leader Sir George Young said it was a ‘step towards a more accessible and transparent’ Parliament and campaigns backed by 100,000 signatures would trigger consideration for debate in Parliament.
2160 petitions are currently active with sometimes directly opposing views such as 23,010 supporting the petition to retain the ban on capital punishment and 15,596 who want to restore capital punishment.
The original e-petition site launched in November 2006 was suspended ahead of the general election in 2010 and the new website will now operate under the Directgov banner rather than Downing Street.