The Centre for Democratic Engagement  and the UK House of Commons  have joined forces to develop a network of academics and practitioners across the world, to critically examine public engagement with parliament: the International Parliament Engagement Network (IPEN).
The IPEN network is inclusive of experts from a range of backgrounds and international perspectives, provides a space to share best practice, communicates research findings, and encourages collaboration between academics and practitioners. IPEN includes members from over 20 countries spanning 6 continents from parliamentary officials, academia and international organisations.
The inaugural seminar was chaired by Professor Cristina Leston-Bandeira, University of Leeds, on July 1, 2020. Officials in the UK Parliament, the Brazilian Senate, and the Welsh Parliament talked about their experiences in working with the public during the pandemic .
An IPEN seminar on “Implementing online deliberative methods of engagement” was conducted by Andreas Nitsche, Association for Interactive Democracy, on July 14, 2020.
The success of an online participation system depends not only on the functionality of the software, but also on the overall participation process, including its proper embedding into administrative processes. Andreas introduced LiquidFeedback, an online platform which helps develop credible propositions in an integrated deliberation and voting process. He also gave his take on the usual challenges of civic participation, and provided examples of how lawmakers and/or an administration can address these in creative ways to establish widely accepted participation infrastructures.
The next IPEN seminar will be on “Measuring the impact of parliamentary engagement on law-making in Westminster Parliaments” conducted by Dr Sarah Moulds, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of South Australia, on July 28, 2020.
The workshop “Public Engagement and its Impact on Parliaments”  which had to be postponed due to COVID-19 will be held in Westminster in 2021.