Sunday 6 December 2015

Reaching Out From Parliament - Getting CF Heard

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust has been working closely with the Outreach team in the UK Parliament to look at how we can continue to ensure cystic fibrosis and the issues of the CF community remain on the political agenda. As part of this, we're teaming up with Outreach team to host a 'digital discussion' with Ian Austin MP, ahead of a debate on access to precision medicines. Lucinda Blaser of the Outreach Team explains more.

Hi! I’m Lucinda. I work in Outreach at the House of Commons.

I work with communities in their digital spaces to share ways for them to get involved in the work of Parliament and have their say on issues that are important to them. We are trying to break down perceived barriers to engaging with Parliament and one of the ways to do this is for us in Outreach to come to you both in person or digitally!

One of the ways the House of Commons is encouraging public participation with debates that are happening is through a digital debate. Digital debates are an outcome of the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy, as part of their investigation into opportunities digital technology can bring for parliamentary democracy. In their final report it was stated: 

“We believe the public want the opportunity to have their say in House of Commons debates; we also believe that this will provide a useful resource for MPs and help to enhance those debates. We therefore recommend a unique experiment: the use of regular digital public discussion forums to inform debates held in Westminster Hall.”

Digital discussions are a way for people to get involved in a debate and discuss their thoughts and experiences with the MP who has proposed that debate. This is a chance for the public to be heard by MPs taking part in the debate and to find out more about the parliamentary process and what to do after this debate has happened.

Digital debates are opening up the process and helping the public to have their say bringing together information from charities, organisations and the House of Commons Library to one space for the public to discus.

On Monday 8 December  the cystic fibrosis community will have the chance to come together for a digital discussion, to share their stories about what it is like living with CF and what access to drugs means for you. Ian Austin MP will be taking part in the debate, and will use your stories to inform a special debate he is hosting in Westminster a week later, which you will be able to stream online.

Please take part in the digital discussion on Monday 7 December and make sure your voice is heard! 

You can join in the digital discussion with Ian Austin MP over on Twitter from 5-6pm on Monday 7 December by using the hashtag #CFDebate