Parlement et citoyens is a French initiative designed to tap into wider expertise and involve the public in the lawmaking process.
This case study originally appeared in Nesta's report Digital Democracy: The tools transforming political engagement.
Parlement et Citoyens is an initiative developed by civic tech group, Cap Collectif, working closely with a number of French parliament representatives, to involve the public more closely in the law-making process before bills are submitted to parliament.
A consultation begins with a video from the representative presenting the issue. Interested communities and stakeholders are then invited to make suggestions, or to initiate debates on different articles or sections of the draft bill. Facilitators review people’s arguments and communicate the results back to all parties, with the representative making a final decision on the recommendations.
Consultations generally attract healthy numbers. The most popular consultation on biodiversity received 9,334 participants and over 2,000 contributions.
Parlement et Citoyens: Screenshot of the Consultations page - each consultation is clearly headed with a video from the Representative leading it
The process is meaningful for participants: they can have direct interaction with a representative on an issue that matters to them. The process leading to decisions is transparent, and it’s possible to see the end result submitted to parliament.
Among several successes is Senator Joël Labbé’s consultation on the use and sale of pesticides by local authorities. One of the 521 participants spotted a potential loophole that would allow local authorities to bypass restrictions and suggested an amendment which was later implemented. This example demonstrated the benefits of having more eyes scrutinising a draft law.