While the intent may be to promote dialogue between politicians and their constituents, as Ron Lubensky points out in his Deliberations blog, the site is more of a Dorothy Dixer 2.0.
While there is a 'forum', the design and approach of the site doesn't really support a Web 2.0 approach, with the following tag line in the site's summary,
Watch our panel of politicians and experts debate a series of topics over eight weeks – with a new topic each week, ranging from the economy, to online safety for our kids.Watching is the antithesis of Web 2.0 - which is about user-generated content and interaction.
I think this type of site reflects the efforts of institutions and large companies to loosen some of their control over the debate and step across the line into a user-centred world.
While I applaud the attempted step forward, I think there's still a long way to go.
What would be a Web 2.0 (or Gov 2.0) approach?
Firstly the topics would be set through user-based participation (not by politicians or corporations), with citizens suggesting, commenting and voting on topics to prioritise them for discussion (potentially with central control over the topic area - such as opengov.ideascale.com).
Next the discussion on the topics would be led by citizens - through their submissions and comments - with politicians and 'experts' providing a supporting role, offering facts and policies and participating in discussions.
The politicians or experts do not get centre-stage, getting to 'discuss' the topic while citizens are only able to 'watch' and comment. In fact the bulk of information would be supplied by citizens, with politicians responsible for 'watching' or 'listening' to the views of the community and then reflecting this back into policy discussions.
Examples of this approach now abound, with the US having conducted several discussions in this manner and other countries, such as France, also pursuing such an approach (via www.ensemblesimplifions.fr).