Inspiring examples of online stakeholders engagement in public policy

The European Commission DG Information Society is experimenting with new forms of stakeholders’ engagement with the Digital Agenda for Europe, taking advantage of online tools, as done with the Digital Agenda Assembly ([see section lessons learnt from DAA11 and the Digital Agenda Going Local .

Online engagement could substantially help to open up the policy debate to new voices and new ideas; to better coordinate the initiatives of the various stakeholders; and to improve the quality and effectiveness of public policy.

In this forum we aim to identify interesting and inspiring examples of government-led initiatives for online stakeholders’ engagement for public policy purposes. Initiatives purely aimed at communication and dissemination are not useful in this context.

Please help us by identifying examples of such government initiatives, and briefly explain for each one:

WHY was it carried out – did it succeed?
(Explain the overall aims pursued, if necessary by reference to the relevant section in the input paper, and if possible the impact achieved)

HOW was it done, organisationally and technically?
(Explain the approach, if necessary by reference to the relevant section in the input paper)

WHO managed it; who participated?
(Explain who was involved, if necessary by reference to the relevant section in the input paper)

• Any other comment?
(Explain why your selected example is particularly interesting, in relation to any of the 3 aspects above or for any other reason)

Suggest your inspiring examples!

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  1. Open Source as a civic engagement mechanism

    Open source inherently means that citizens could take ownership and built upon solutions as it suits them. This is why open source is a best practice for civic engagement. If the public sector whould waste less taxpayer money on software lock-in and instead help create software that the citizens could overtake, learn from and develop solutions upon. Examples for open source include Videolan VLC, Mozilla firefox, Apache Webserver and LibreOffice. All of these key digital infrastructure tools were developed without public money, how much more could be achieved with proper credit (to those who actually deserve credit) from the public…

    6 votes
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    • German Bürgerhaushalt movement - facilitated by the Pirate Party emergence as a powerful force in local politics

      • WHY was it carried out – did it succeed?
      Bürgerhaushalt (Citizen Public Spending) - the idea is to create more transparency in spending of the public sector and uncover waste of public money. Esp. when you think of the financial abuse in Greece you see how important it is to check your government so that they don't betray their people.

      • HOW was it done, organisationally and technically?
      (Explain the approach, if necessary by reference to the relevant section in the input paper)

      Online Platform, e.g https://www.buergerhaushalt-osnabrueck.de/
      background about the movement
      http://buergerhaushalt.org

      • WHO managed it; who participated?
      (Explain…

      3 votes
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      • Dresdner Debatte

        In the Dresdner Debatte the City Council asked about city planning issues such as the future of a certain place in Dresden and architectural preferences. I found that online outreach debate very fruitful.

        2 votes
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        • Your Voice

          I think the Your Voice in Europe site of the European Commission is a great example how to facilitate access to official consultations.

          1 vote
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          • http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/content/tell-us-how

            The Tell us How website invites public sector workers to give their views on how to deliver public services "more cheaply and simply". The ‘Tell Us How’ website asks for people to post their ideas and comments on where unnecessary bureaucracy and burdens can be removed. It is also inviting site users to review ideas put forward and vote for the ones they think have most potential.Ideas posted on the site will make a difference: they will be heard and the best ideas will be acted on. The site keeps everyone updated on the progress of ideas – setting out…

            16 votes
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            • Virtual Town Meeting - political participation without physical copresence

              WHY

              Electronic participation is about using ICT to enhance people’s activism and engagement in public affairs. In principle, the “selling asset” of ICT as a complement of participatory practices is the likelihood to involve a bigger share of the population than it would be possible with traditional means. This discourse is normally two-sided: on the one hand, it is expected that by increasing available opportunities to communicate and collaborate with policy makers “between” general elections, the current trends of political disengagement and low voter turnout can be reversed. A more subtle companion argument is that a wider representation of societal…

              21 votes
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              • www.demos-plan.eu/en : Online Participation in Land Use Planning

                WHY

                EU regional and local authorities are required by law to involve the general public and (according to competences) other government departments and agencies in formal consultations, especially in the process of urban or land use planning. These consultations are usually complicated, time-consuming and almost always conducted in an analogue fashion (e.g. by stakeholder meetings, written submissions of comments, planning documents sent by post, etc.) – not least because there is no legal basis for carrying out the process digitally.

                By contrast, Internet-based participation in land use planning can save huge money (on printing and distributing maps and textual documents…

                17 votes
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                • Citizen Space: open source consultation and engagement platform

                  Citizen Space: To see a demo version of Citizen Space, visit www.citizenspace.com/demo.

                  WHO
                  Delib has launched Citizen Space, an open-source consultation and engagement platform. Citizen Space has been developed as a collaborative project between the UK Government and digital democracy company Delib, and has been designed to help government departments to set-up, organise and publicise consultations across the internet with one easy-to-use system.

                  Co-design has been at the heart of the Citizen Space project, with government departments involved at each stage of Citizen Space’s 12 month development process.

                  WHY
                  Key objectives that Citizen Space has been designed to address…

                  4 votes
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                  • Foreign Office UK - Blogging Ambassadors

                    The Foreign Office is active in reaching out to UK residents across the globe. In this sense digital engagement is crucial as the stakeholders are dispersed outside the country - similarly to the Going Local initiative.
                    The FO has many different initiatives, one of them being the blogging ambassadors. UK ambassadors blog on local platforms so that they can engage better with local audience.

                    WHY
                    Engage with multinational audience and reaching out to the right local audience which normally is not reached by FO communication.

                    HOW
                    Ambassadors open blog on local platforms selected on the basis of audience and degree…

                    3 votes
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                    • Inhouse example: The Digital Agenda for Europe creating and managing its online presence

                      We are creating and managing our DAE online presence and compiled a slide show with examples: http://www.slideshare.net/OlafeuDeusseneu/use-of-some-by-the-eu-commissions-digital.

                      The slide show is based on a presentation done by David Ringrose at "Europcom", Brussels, October 2011.

                      3 votes
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                      • VOICE Government

                        VOICE™ Government is a web-based constituent relationship management (CRM) system specifically designed for government offices. With this product, office staffs have the ability to effectively collect, track, route and interact with constituents through a single, web-based environment.

                        WHO
                        Simplicity Corporation (http://symplicity.com/about_symplicity).
                        Clients of the corporation not spec. for this product: http://symplicity.com/customers)

                        HOW
                        Some features:
                        The constituent management product stores all contact and interaction data in one, centralized web space. Correspondence Tracking: They manage and record every contact via VOICE's unique "Inbox" functionality. From outbound one-to-one emails, faxes, phone calls, bulk email campaigns or segmented direct mailings, to…

                        3 votes
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                        • My 2050 (CO2 Reduction by 2050)

                          http://my2050.decc.gov.uk

                          WHY: to engage people in the trade-offs involved in reducing CO2 emissions.

                          HOW: a highly visual carbon trade-off 'gaming' environment was created.

                          WHO: this was funded by the UK Gov ScienceWise Programme and delivered by Delib. Over 2,000 people like on Facebook.

                          What's most interesting here is not the participation but the quality of the visual engagement experience.

                          6 votes
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                          • Ministere De Ecologie (Consultations Publique) http://www.consultations-publiques.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/

                            http://www.consultations-publiques.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/experimentation-sur-l-affichage-environnemental-1/survey/10364

                            WHY:
                            The French Environment & Sustainable Development Ministry (the biggest consultation department in France) wanted to create a site where it would not have to create new communities for each consultation, and that members of the communities could create their own consultations. Creating a genuine bottom-up form of consultation.

                            HOW: The Ministere De Ecologie has worked closely with Izwe to build on the existing izwe platform to create something 'bespoke' for their needs. It is is still in experimental/beta mode but has had over 9,000 people using the site largely due to the powerful communications channels of the Ministre.

                            5 votes
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                            • Devon County Council Budget Consultation (Tough Choices)

                              http://www.toughchoices.co.uk/

                              BACKGROUND:

                              The Tough Choices citizen engagement and budget consultation programme was launched in September 2010 with the aim of encouraging widespread dialogue over future local spending decisions.

                              The programme consisted of an interactive website and a series of local public meetings. This was backed with a publicity campaign including newspaper advertisements encouraging direct feedback.

                              Over 34,000 people participated in the programme in some way over a 12 week period including nearly 1000 at local meetings.

                              The total cost of the programme was under 7,000 EUROS funded from existing budgets for public engagement and consultation.

                              WHY: councils across the UK…

                              4 votes
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                                1 comment  ·  Admin →
                              • US nanotechnology strategy engaging stakeholders online

                                Starting December 6 2010, public comment was invited for thirty days on the draft Enviormental Health and Safety Research Strategy which was available at (http://www.nano.gov/node/651), and also cross-posted at the The National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategy Portal.

                                WHY
                                The draft NNI EHS research strategy aimed to ensure the responsible development of nanotechnology by providing guidance to the Federal agencies that produce the scientific information for risk management, regulatory decision-making, product use, research planning, and public outreach. The core research areas providing this critical information were measurement, human exposure assessment, human health, and the environment, in order to inform risk…

                                1 vote
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                                • www.digitalgreece2020.gr : Constructing the Greek DA 2020

                                  The http://www.digitalgreece2020.gr website has been launched by the Greek government / Prime Minister office within 2011.

                                  WHY: to support the online discussion of the Digital Agenda 2020 in Greece.

                                  HOW: a open-source based forum, with 7 main topics/areas on digital agenda 2020. Each area had a team of animators, totally around 50 people were managing the whole discussion. Several face to face meetings were held, too.

                                  WHO: more than 900 members engaged within 2011, delivering more than 600 comments and suggestions on the digital agenda topics.

                                  INTERESTING: PADGETS project (www.padgets.eu) supported the processing of the comments, via opinion…

                                  2 votes
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                                  • capacity4dev.eu

                                    The EC also has some good services. The best is Capacity4Dev.eu, a collaborative space where stakeholders can discuss and share documents.
                                    It is based on DRUPAL, highly usable and has encountered growing adoption by the community.

                                    WHY: to enable collaboration within a widely dispersed stakeholders community (global). Open platform to enable collaboration all along the policy-making cycle, through discussion and collaboration

                                    HOW: enables open publishing and restricted group collaboration. Includes document sharing, soon will include commentable docs, but not uservoice. Technically it's internal platform DRUPAL hosted by DIGIT with internal project team from contractors in DG DEV.

                                    9 votes
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                                    • Commentable microsites on UK dept for Business Innovation Skills

                                      The website of the UK BIS dept. includes microsites for public commenting. It also includes DISQUS as a commenting tool on most pages such as http://www.bis.gov.uk/better-choices

                                      WHY: to engage stakeholders in policy definition. No data on impact. Mostly in policy definition phase. Draft documents are posted online for public discussion.

                                      HOW: open approach, many to many, comments are visible to all and integrated with Social Media through DISQUS which is an embedded service.

                                      WHO: no data available on how many commenters etc.

                                      4 votes
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                                      • connect.innovateuk.org

                                        This new platform, launched the Technology Strategy Board, provides an effective and powerful way for you to collaborate online, network and share knowledge with other innovators.

                                        WHY: knowledge sharing and collaboration. No specific application, used across all work of Technology Strategy Board. For example it was used to discuss the FP8 CSFRI proposal.

                                        HOW: internal platform. This is an example of a dedicated internal platform that aim to host conversations.

                                        WHO: Not sure how much traction it got.

                                        In summary, it's an interesting example of a good collaborative platform hosted by government (although this is a PPP), and it's quite…

                                        2 votes
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                                        • Regulations.gov

                                          Regulations.gov is a U.S. Federal government web site that acts as an "Internet portal and document repository" that allows members of the public to participate in the rulemaking processes of some Federal government agencies.
                                          Rulemaking is a process by which government agencies issue regulations implementing statutes passed by a legislative body such as the United States Congress.

                                          WHY: The site allows users to make public comments in response to notices of proposed rulemaking issued by participating agencies; such comments become part of the public record and may be displayed on the site. Comments in the preparatory phases of practical rulemaking.…

                                          3 votes
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                                          Inspiring examples of online stakeholders engagement in public policy

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