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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Innovative use of new technology

I thought it was worth recording here how the Welsh Assembly is once more breaking new ground with its use of the internet to consult formally on policy reviews. As far as I am aware we are the only British Parliamentary body using the web in this way. The Education and Lifelong Learning Committee, which I chair, has set the ball rolling with an on-line consultation in relation to its review of Special Educational Needs and the statementing process. Come and have a look here and if you are interested in this subject or have a contribution to make then please participate.
I applaud the Welsh Assembly for making this move and hope that this is the start of wider consultation with its constituents. It is timely to use the internet more widely and not, as one commentator recently said, as an electronic mail drop where we have an electronic picture of the candidate and his dog rather than one through the door. The internet provides a great opportunity to develop fora, which will inevitably lead to government being more responsive to the needs of its citizens.
I am shocked to read Valerie Elliott's comments in The Times article April 06, 2005 Wales: Labour MPs 'let down' by Assembly on health. It this article she describes the current state of play in Wales in the lead up to the general election. She refers to Wales and the fuss about women short lists as "a strange row for Labour’s high command to have started in a country backward in allowing women to leave the kitchen sink and especially in a Valleys seat such as Blaenau Gwent, stamping ground of Aneurin Bevan and Michael Foot."

"a country backward in allowing women to leave the kitchen sink?!!" Has she not taken any notice that, in fact, the Welsh Assembly is the first national parliament to have an equal number of women and men representatives and more women than men in the cabinet?

Doesn't hold up well for reading the Times with such shabby reporting. Clearly out of touch.
A shame that the pages don't validate, Peter:


and don't pass level WCAG level 2 guidlelines - think that makes them illegal.

So - only bother consulting people who aren't blind, can use a conventional keyboard, etc, etc?
I am not responsible for the technical aspects David but I will pass on your comments once more. These are one set of pages that should meet the guidelines!!
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