Earlier this year, I created a petition on the (then) government’s petition web site. The petition called for the government to fully implement the recommendations of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s Evidence Check on Homeopathy – basically calling on the government to stop wasting money on homeopathy.
The petition was due to be open for signatures for a year. In retrospect, that was probably a mistake as no matter who was in government, they would have made up their mind about the issue long before the petition closed.
But since the general election everything has changed. All of the petitions were closed to new signatures during the election campaign and they didn’t re-open once the new government was in place. Instead the web site explained that the new government was considering the best way to proceed with the site. The front page of the site now says:
With a new Government in place a review is taking place of online services, including e-petitions. We are committed to improving the e-petitions process and are looking at ways of ensuring that it functions as part of a cohesive approach to public debate and transparent government. A full announcement on how we plan to use these and other services across Government will be made as soon as this important work is completed.
It goes on to say:
Existing e-petitions, submitted to the previous administration, will not be carried forward to the new administration as part of this process. E-petitions that were live at the time of the election announcement on 6 April, when the e-petitions system was suspended, will therefore not be reopened for signatures. We are issuing responses to petitions that had exceeded the 500 signatures threshold as of 6 April 2010 and these can be viewed on the HMG e-petitions responses page.
So my petition has been closed. In the three or four months that it was open, over 1,600 people signed it. That means that we can expect some kind of response from the government, although it’s not there yet and there’s no indication of when we will receive it.
Thanks to everyone who signed the petition. Perhaps in this new cuts-driven regime removing finding for magic water on the NHS is an obvious way to save a few million quid.