Australian Law Reform Commission Broadens Outreach Through Podcasts
The most recent one was Dec. 17 and dealt with indigenous issues and the Commission's family violence inquiry.
As the Commission explained on Nov. 3, 2010 in a conference presentation called Opening Up the Conversation | Gov 2.0 Conference, it has been modernizing the tools it uses to reach out to the wider community:
"First we would consult and then produce an Issues Paper, and call for submissions from stakeholders, then we would produce a Discussion paper, consult more and call for further submissions and then finally after more consultation, we would produce final Report with recommendations for reform."
"This was time intensive process for us and for our stakeholders, and it was also pretty expensive to produce and distribute all these different printed documents. While the process definitely encouraged a two way conversation, we ask a question and you give us your opinion, what it didn’t encourage was a more dynamic backward and forwards dialogue, and it was a very formal process."
"The online tools that we have adopted just in this past year, have started to subvert this three stage process and have allowed us to replace some of the steps and to encourage stakeholders to interact with the ALRC in a more fluid and dynamic way....getting involved at an earlier stage in the process and being able to engage in a more flexible, informal and interactive manner."
"The tools that Marie Claire [Marie-Claire Muir, the Commission Web Manager] is going to go through briefly – our e-newsletters, blogs, closed social networks and Twitter - encourage a more immediate and dynamic conversation. They have also opened up the ALRC’s own processes more to the public, so that our inquiry work and the thinking that goes into our the development of our recommendations, is more transparent (...)"
"The ALRC will shortly release its first podcast – about its recommendations in the Family Violence Inquiry Final Report, which we hope will make the report more accessible to the inquiry’s broad range of stakeholders, and we’ll do this via a phonecasting service called Ipadio. This freemium service allows you to record and distribute a phonecast with nothing more complicated that a handset. But what we’re really excited about it the opportunity this service has for use in future inquiries as a means for stakeholders to simply phone in comments or submissions, using their telephone, a freecall number, and a password we provide to them. The software not only creates the podcast, which you can make available to the general public or keep private, but will create an editable transcription using voice to text software."
"This potentially provides an easier way for some groups of stakeholders – youth, or people with poor literacy levels, for example - to contribute – groups that might typically not be comfortable, or able, to write long formal submissions."