The NLGN have just published a paper called 21st Century Democracy – e-petitioning and local government.
It is a big title and subject. The author sees e-Petitions as the solution and there is some logic to it, but I feel she places far too much hope in them. ePetitions are useful and councils fo all sizes will need to be able to offer them, but it is important that those implementing ePetitions realise that it is part of an overall eDemocracy/engagement strategy. They are easy to participate in and can gather lots of signatures, email addresses and traffic. Councils need to plan ahead what they want to do with all of those.