School Research e-seminar series: Professor Cristina Leston-Bandeira ‘Is there any point to e-petitions?’

Professor Cristina Leston-Bandeira will be giving the inaugural talk, ‘Is there any point to e-petitions?’ through the POLIS Teams Virtual Café at 4pm. 


This talk will be based on a recent article by Professor Cristina Leston-Bandeira, in Policy & Politics, about the roles performed by e-petitions.

Legislatures around the world are experimenting with online petitions as a means of enabling the public to express policy preferences. In some countries they have attracted an extraordinarily large number of signatories, but it is often unclear what, if anything, they achieve.

This talk will address this issue through an analysis of the UK parliament’s e-petitions system. Drawing on a review of historical and comparative research, it will present a new analytical framework which identifies four potential types of roles – linkage, campaigning, scrutiny and policy.

The talk then focuses on the UK Parliament case study to shows that although a large proportion of e-petitions to the UK parliament are rejected and only a very small number lead to specific action, they nevertheless play important roles. Some have performed campaigning or scrutiny roles, but their primary effect has been to facilitate public engagement.