1 nation. 60 million opinions

There is a new web service in town and it collects the opinions of the public. It seems they are doing all their advertising on buses and billboards, I spotted a billboard yesterday in Glasgow Central Station.

"These days, so many people feel that they're not being listened to and they have no way of making their voice heard.  They feel distanced from self-interested politicians and the news media.  Yet the hallmark of Britain has always been that people care about, and have strong views on, almost everything.  Speaking out is a democratic right this nation has historically embraced with enthusiasm.

Britainthinks is an independent space where the opinions of the British public can be publicly expressed. It launched on 4th January 2010.

Britainthinks was created to give people a new voice and support the vibrant democracy that the people of Britain already participate in up and down the country - in the pubs, living rooms and street corners of our nation.  We’re not backed by big news media organisations.  We have no political or religious axe to grind.  We just believe it is high time for us all to listen, speak and vote for the issues that count in our daily lives.  Britainthinks is the place to do just that."

You can vote on issues ranging from 'Should parents be paid to stay at home with kids?' to 'Do MP's care about us or just themselves?'. I am curious as to who is behind this and what they are going to do with all the opinions they gather!

Although, as Matthew Taylor points out "BritainThinks doesn’t encourage its participants to ask themselves whether their opinion is wanted, useful or soundly based is reinforced by the site’s slogan…if you’ve got an opinion, here’s where to stick it..." It also doesn't seem to have a space for people to discuss their opinions and engage in conversation about their thoughts...

I like the site and the graphics. I'll be watching closley to see what happens next.

Because experience matters

The easy, safe way to share your front-line experience of public services for free. Just describe your own experience. You can also add what it should have been: "Wouldn't it be better if..." 3125116159_0be1a3eeec

"In short we are here to get feedback on government services. The PublicExperience project is currently in a pilot stage. We are funded by the Ministry of Justice through their Innovation Fund and hosted by mySociety."

Would it be better if...

"People could request that Public services communicated with them by telephone or email (not by letter).

I am a young professional. I rent, and in the past 6 years I have lived in 4 different shared houses/flats. However, I have had the same mobile phone number and email address.

My post is shared and not that secure to be honest. At the last flat I lived in we had a problem with teenagers stealing the post.

It would be far more secure (and environmentally friendly) for any important information to come to me by text or email. And I have access to this 24 hours a day!

I was recently 'de-registered' from my GP practice without any notification. I had moved 5 minutes away and hadn't had time to change my address. Presumably they had sent a letter, that I hadn't received."

Follow them on twitter!

What was your experience, and what should it have been...?

Complaints breed complaints

The NHS is failing to deal adequately with complaints about its services, according to a recent report by the Healthcare Commission, the watchdog responsible for reviewing complaints that cannot be resolved at a local NHS trust level. The report reveals that the proportion of complaints upheld rose last year by 50% - and in less than a fifth of the 9,000 cases it looked at, the watchdog sided with the trust. 42-15997889

Most worrying for those who believe in the importance of listening to user feedback as a means of improving services, the main issue raised by complainants was the way in which the NHS handles complaints. In other words, what bugs people most is not the issue that led them to complain, but the way in which the NHS responded when they did so. Complaints, it appears, breed complaints about complaints.