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The Hansard Society issued a report today calling for a complete overhaul of the UK Parliament's online presence, as part of a wider review of how the institution is run.

The report accuses Parliament of failing in its democratic duty, and says that in particular it has failed "to respond adequately to the opportunities provided by modern communications and in doing so has contributed to the growing alienation of the British public".

Rather shockingly, the report also reveals that no one has overall responsibility for the website. Yes, you read that right: there is no parliamentary webmaster. It condemns Parliament as a whole as being "seriously out of date" and suggests it try to bring itself up to date by making a bit more of an effort with its website, which it currently slams as "dry, and un-engaging".

"It remains, in essence, an online archival resource, impenetrable to most people, difficult to navigate, with almost no opportunity for interaction and a wholly inadequate search engine," the report says.

The report, titled "Members only? - Parliament in the Public Eye", recommends a radical overhaul so that the site is at least easier to navigate, more interactive and more consultative. The new site must appeal to "the widest range of citizens", and should be well promoted so that the public is aware that there is a way they can access their parliament.

Read the recommendations in full, here (pdf), or buy the whole report for £25 here. ®

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