PRs tell Speaker Bercow to drop the "arcane" language

Keep it brief, include video and present information in a news-style format was the advice given to parliamentarians by PR professionals this week.

John Bercow: Speaker was told Parliament must drop the 'alienating' language
John Bercow: Speaker was told Parliament must drop the 'alienating' language
Members of the PRCA and the Guild of PR practitioners met the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow MP, at the Digital Democracy Commission consultation on Monday.

Bercow is currently gathering evidence from various business sectors to explore how Parliament can take advantage of technology to be more relevant to today’s society and tackle disengagement.

PR practitioners at the event told him Parliament must address the "arcane and alienating" language it uses and suggested practical measures to boost public engagement and change how the work of government is scrutinised.

Among the ideas suggested was shorter, more digestible content, with more use of video and infographics, to help people understand the work of Parliament.

A more accessible online portal that presents information in a news-style format was also suggested as well as better access to public sector data. 

Bercow was advised to target audiences using the communication tools that fit with the explosion in the use of smartphone technology, such as geo-location apps which allow people to get information on issues relevant to where they live, as well as to consider introducing e-voting.

Francis Ingham, director general of the PRCA, said: "It’s gratifying that the Digital Democracy Commission values the insights of the PR industry to guide its efforts to enhance engagement between politicians and the public. We’re looking forward to seeing the Commission’s final report as a strategy which is not just fit for today’s voters but those of future generations, too."

The Commission’s final report will be published in early 2015 to coincide with Parliament’s 750th birthday and the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta.

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