It’s been a very busy time on the Citizen Space aggregator in recent weeks, with over 1200 open activities at time of writing. One thing that I’ve noticed lately is, despite the festive season, there’s a lot of serious business happening across our customer base at the moment. Not only that, but the activities in the Aggregator at the moment often mirror what’s been happening in the news. Interesting, but not surprising, given that many (if not most) UK, Australian and New Zealand government departments have adopted Citizen Space as their de facto engagement platform.

So let’s take a look at some of these issues of huge national or even international significance – some of which you might have heard about straight from the horse’s mouth, with government ministers announcing rather a lot of reforms in recent weeks.

Human Rights Act Reform

You can read the BBC news article about this, but the UK Ministry of Justice is consulting on reforms to the Human Rights Act 1998 now that the UK has left the European Union. This was a campaign promise for UK PM Boris Johnson.

For such a complex topic, the associated consultation is reasonably straightforward. Respondents must read the consultation document, which is long, but written in a way that’s not difficult to understand. The consultation itself is written in plain English so it doesn’t feel like an exclusive activity that only lawyers can understand and respond to. It’s something that affects every Brit, so accessibility is important. The MoJ says in the consultation overview that Easy Read and Welsh versions will be available in due course.

Smokefree Aotearoa

This consultation actually ran earlier this year and is now closed, but the New Zealand government’s decision to impose a lifetime ban on young people buying cigarettes made international headlines this week. Smoking is a leading cause of excess death in New Zealand.

The Ministry of Health consulted publicly on their Smokefree Aotearoa proposals from April-June, outlining plans to achieve a completely cigarette-free country by 2025. The consultation’s plain language made it accessible and straightforward to complete, and they opted to publish responses. Over 1000 responses have been published, from a huge range of demographics and viewpoints.

Common disposable plastics

Boris Johnson gave a video introduction to this exercise from Defra, which seeks input on banning common disposable plastics across the UK by 2025. Defra are concurrently running a consultation on proposals to ban things like plastic cutlery and plates, as well as a call for evidence on whether these proposals should be expanded to include other items including wet wipes and tobacco filters.

I like that the delineation between both activities is made clear. The supporting information is provided before answering any questions, so in the case of the consultation no prior knowledge or reading is required. The consultation is also routed depending on whether or not the respondent is a supplier of the plastic products in question.

Christmas lights switch-on events 🎄

I couldn’t not include this activity – it doesn’t affect a whole nation but it’s definitely very important. Also, it’s the holiday season and I want to. Plus, there’s such a great photo on the overview page, and the events even made the local news.

Feedback surveys are an increasingly common use case for Citizen Space. Antrim & Newtonabbey Council hosted a series of Christmas lights switch-on events across the borough, and they’re asking attendees for their feedback in this simple and festive survey.

That’s it for now. Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season – we’ll be back in the New Year.

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