Democratic Audit Shorts: Parliament remains insufficiently responsive to the outside world

Taken from Section 2.4.6 of the 2012 Democratic Audit report- ‘Parliament’s relationship with the public and relevant interests’

Over this Audit period there have been some limited improvements in parliament’s relationship with the outside world. In particular, select committees now utilise online forums; and all written petitions sent to an MP who agrees to present them to parliament receive official replies from the government. The number of petitions presented to parliament each year fluctuates enormously, although there was a clear decline after the early 1990s (see Figure 2.4j). Continue reading

Democratic Audit Shorts: Big business still has too much influence over public policy

Taken from Section 2.6.4 of the 2012 Democratic Audit Report – Business influence on public policy’

A recent Democratic Audit study by David Beetham argues that corporate and financial interests have, since the 1980s, inserted themselves increasingly into government and its decision-making processes, over which they now exercise substantial influence (Beetham, 2011). As well as exercising indirect power on governments, Beetham identifies two broad categories of direct business influence over public policy, as follows: Continue reading