Good luck with the interview. Some general thoughts in no particular order of priority.
1.It seems to me that the Gov is tackling this from the bottom up rather than the top down. They are keen that no-one should be 'disenfranchised' because of lack of computers. Hence the various initiatives like computers in libraries and the other outlets. But putting a PC in a battered wives refuge doesn't empower people any more than giving them a pen and paper if 1) they are disenfranchised anyway because of educational, social or just not being able to get into 'the system'. And 2) there is no visible result from being about to communicate directly.
2. Spin over substance. There are numerous examples, No. 10 website being one online initiative; the 'Big Conversation' being an off-line initiative, which have been seen as a 'marketing' exercise to make it look as if the Gov is listening but in reality there is little confidence in the democratic process. Difficult to think how you can have a democratic process with a Gov. with this scale of majority.
3. Buying-in to it. With a few exceptions, MPs are not a technically literate bunch. They are also busy people who, in the real world, don't want to make it easier for them to be at the beck and call of their constituents. Apart from their fortnightly surgeries, most contact comes via letters from constituents to their secretaries. On a national issue, MP's secretary receives letter; sends acknowledgement to constituent saying MP will riase it; forwards letter to the relevant Minister; Minister passes letter to relevant Civil Servant who drafts standard reply to such queries; Minister returns it to MP; MP forwards it to constituent.
4. The technology is available for every MP to talk to their constituents on local or subject matters. Or to consult widely on subject issues. But that MP has very little power or influence or desire to be 'instructed' by constituents when he/she has got to follow the party line in most cases.
5. The consultation process for legislation is well-established and dominated by the 'big players' eg corporates and trade associations. Also worth considering that trade associations, the very organisations which *should* be promoting consultation have a vested interest in maintaining their position, eg if members of trade associations can make their views known directly to the powers-that-be, what role does a trade association have.
6. Following on from that, trade associations could do more to facilitate direct contact. On Shout99, we don't 'represent' the views of members of the network, we have the ability for them to make their own views known. eg if a Select Committee is examining something relevant, I'll post a story and collate the replies/comments and submit that.
7. Trust. For people to use an online system, they need to have faith in its (and the Government's) transparency and honesty. They need to see results.
8. Big players. To date, the Government's IT is dominated by the same big names and there has been a catalogue of IT disasters which has eaten away at the confidence of the end-users.
9. Opportunity. There is an opportunity if the Gov was genuinely motivated to 'e-enfranchise' the population and engage in real dialogue. But it's is hard to see the results coming through.