Nudging the Assembly into the digital age

Senedd, Cardiff Bay / Bae Caerdydd by National Assembly for Wales used under CC-BY 2.0

The Llywydd of the National Assembly for Wales set up a Task Force to:

“recommend ways in which the Assembly can deliver engaging and accessible news and information about the legislature’s work”

The Task Force has reported today and, given the brief, it’s a good piece of work. Indeed they try to push the Assembly a bit further. Because as I think we can all see, the task of pushing stuff out about the Assembly is not really grasping the nettle of the digital revolution.

It is a report of two parts

Part one

Ex-AM (and ex Minister) Leighton Andrews and his team were set a clear task.

They recommend seeing the Assembly (including its members) as a content platform, giving thought to specialist audiences and considering how they engage people who actually visit the Senedd. So far so fair enough.

I know what you’re thinking. This is all a bit “push” and perhaps, dare one say it, a little old fashioned. Well they do have to answer the question they were asked.

They don’t stop there though…

Part two

They talk about Data Leadership and suggest that the Assembly should accelerate its open data plans and work with experts in the field including *cough* the ODI (lucky for them ODI-Cardiff is based just up the road).

They talk about culture change and say user needs should be at the heart of all service design.

They say:

“The Assembly must develop a culture where people feel both able and empowered to try new approaches to delivering digital services without fearing the consequences of this not going exactly to plan.”


And they talk about embedding digital into the full work of the Assembly, not just the public engagement.

And finally they suggest that this should touch all parts of the organisation and be seen as a process that will never stop.

Part two is great. This reads like a group of sensible folk sat down and said “They’re asking the wrong question”. They answered the wrong question because they had been hired to do so.

And then they answered the question they should have been asked.

Let’s hope the Assembly embraces the whole report

The risk is that the Assembly will only pay attention to the bit they asked for. I hope they don’t. Because this whole report points the Assembly in the direction of becoming a parliament fit for the connected age. And don’t the people of Wales deserve as much?