PEP-NET member 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.
Easy-to-use and empowering
Key objectives that Citizen Space has been designed to address include:
- Manage and organise multiple consultations across multiple policy teams
- Share consultation information openly in a structured way
- Create a easy and robust way to create online consultations on complex policy documents
- Provide a way to easily analyse consultation data (both qualitative and quantitative)
- Provide a central space to manage / track responses – whether it’s online responses or postal responses
Citizen Space has been developed as an open-source consultation and engagement platform, enabling government departments and the wider digital democracy community to build on the foundations that have been developed, leveraging efficiencies by sharing development costs and benefits.
The open source nature of the Citizen Space platform also means that government departments are flexible in how they implement and use Citizen Space, as they’re not bound by specific vendor licenses.
An expandable suite of online engagement tools
Citizen Space is a set of open source software, which consists of Consultation Finder and Quick Consult. Importantly, Citizen Space is designed as an open-source platform which can be freely added to over time – with all improvements benefiting the government community as a whole.
Consultation Finder is a centralised hub designed to help in-house teams manage consultation processes efficiently online.
* Central platform for multi-partner management
* Consultation database to find and sort multiple consultations
* Easy-to-use content management system
* RSS syndication for sharing
Quick Consult is an online consultation app designed to allow government departments to quickly and easily create an interactive policy consultation.
* Easily set up both linear and non-linear online consultations
16. November 2010 – 17:49 by Institute for Electronic Participation
This year largest eDemocracy conference in South East Europe took place during 12-14th September, 2010 in Ohrid, Macedonia.
The e-Democracy Conference 2010 welcomed 30 delegations from 15 countries. 100 participants from Parliaments, Governments and Official Journals, as well as representatives from international organizations, business sector and academia were engaged in fruitful and interesting discussions about the role that ICT can play into improving the democracy and transparency of the public institutions. More information about the conference is available at https://www.edemocracy.mk.
The e-Democracy Conference 2010 topics included:
Future and emerging technologies for e-Democracy
Compliance and standards (EU perspective)
How to support “Green IT” initiative in the policy development
ICT in legislative knowledge management
How can information technology transform the way parliaments and governments work
Interoperability in the legislative process
Parliaments and Democracy in the Twenty-first century
State of ICT development in Parliaments
ICT in parliaments current practices
e-Parliaments-The Use of ICT to Improve Parliamentary Processes
The participants at the e-Democracy Conference 2010 agreed that the progress that Macedonia has made in using ICT for improving democracy is an example that all the countries in the region should follow.
16. November 2010 – 12:00 by John Heaven (TuTech Innovation GmbH)
Birmingham's Virtual Library. Click for larger image
It’s easy to reject Second Life as an eParticipation platform, but Birmingham City Council is just about to launch a virtual model of the planned £193m Library of Birmingham. I spoke to representatives of the Council and the company that they are working with to find out what they are doing, and how they are making the virtual library accessible to a wide audience. What I found was fascinating, and I really think Second Life deserves a second look.
Second Life is a virtual world that allows users to assume a second identity and explore a digital three-dimensional world. It’s not difficult to see how this could be used to enable people to “go” to places they wouldn’t otherwise visit, network with people from far away, or take part in virtual events. That’s the theory; but my big issue with Second Life is that it is a very niche audience and it takes quite a lot of effort to download the software and work out how to use it. Once you’re in there, it’s great to be able to look at these virtual buildings and access information; but I can view videos, read text, and chat to friends much more easily using the internet outside Second Life. So why would a city council be interested in Second Life? Read the rest of this entry »
The web page will support online participation through a video stream of the discussion taking place in Kiberpipa, Ljubljana (https://www.kiberpipa.org) while your direct participation will be supported through a special chat room in which the moderator will be taking questions prior to and during the discussion.
The on-line event is going to start on Friday, November 12th 2010 at 17.30 (CET). Everyone that wishes to join us in the near virtual world is welcome to visit Kiberpipa Kersnikova 6, Ljubljana or in Kibla, Ulica kneza Koclja 9, Maribor.
* Free flow of information and services in the European Union and the protection of copyright and patent laws.
* The role of the European Union in ensuring the protection of all internet users.
* The future of information technologies and new forms of political participation with respect to the functioning and the role of the European Parliament in political life.
The event is organized by European Parliament Information Office for Slovenia, European Parliament Information Office for Sweden, Pro et Contra – Institute for Culture in Dialouge (https://www.zainproti.com) in cooperation with Kiberpipa. Web streaming of the European Parliament Citizens Forum is provided by the Institute for Electronic Participation (INePA) – https://www.inepa.si and Studio 12 – https://www.studio12.si.
The European Parliament Citizens Forum started in 2005 with the aim to bring together on the one hand European citizens, NGO representatives and on the other Members of the European Parliament, representatives of national and local authorities to discuss current European affairs.
17. September 2010 – 15:45 by Bengt Feil (TuTech Innovation GmbH)
One of the first steps in trying to open up the budgeting process is to present a communal, regional or even national budget into in way that is accessible for the average citizen. In most cases budgets are published as documents with hundreds of pages and enormous tables with number containing a bunch of zeros – which might be a hurdle for many people to join into a discussion about this important topic.
The German website OffenerHaushalt.de (in German), built by Tactical Tools (“a network of enthusiast and experts”), tries to address this problem by presenting the federal budget of Germany in an interactive and intuitive fashion. The picture below shows the front page with each ministries budget presented in a different colour.
After clicking a budget (like in this case defense) the allocation of the budget to different areas and activities is shown in an easy to understand way. This way you can drill down into the budget to get a sense of its structure and how funds are used.
All data presented can also be exported in different standardized formats (JSON and XML among them) and all source data is also accessible. However there is also a sign for the need of more structured open data as the site is asking its visitors for hints to a machine readable version of the 2011 federal budget.
In summary this website is a great example of how to display complex numerical information in an accessible way. The ideas presented here could be integrated into eParticipatory budgeting processes to lower the barrier to entry for citizens or to help to introduce new audiences to these processes.
8. September 2010 – 22:40 by Institute for Electronic Participation
According to the latest UN E-Participation Index measurement, the majority of South Eastern European countries improved their global standing regarding the quality and usefulness of information and services for the purpose of engaging its citizens in public policy making through the use of e-government programs. Nevertheless, e-participation in SEE countries is still falling behind their e-government developments. An overview of current e-participation situation in SEE within government domain will be presented, highlighting key elements needed for strengthening e-democracy in the region. One of them will be focused on non-governmental organizations and civil society e-participation experience (e.g. on-line Citizen’s forum) needed for shaping inclusive and citizens oriented e-government policy.
6. August 2010 – 17:28 by Institute for Electronic Participation
E-participation & E-democracy workshop was organized as a part of the Citizens Participation University 2010 which took place from 20th to 24th of July in the Civil College in Kunszentmiklós-Kunbábony (Hungary).
10 NGOs representatives and activists from Armenia, Belgium, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Poland and Romania attended the workshop.
Participants were introduced with E-participation / E-democracy concept, political documents of the Council of Europe relating to eDemocracy, current e-participation developments in Central and Eastern Europe and different e-participation tools as well as good practices. The second part of the workshop facilitated open discussion about opportunities for involving e-participation tools into current and future civil society projects in the region.
30. July 2010 – 10:31 by Bengt Feil (TuTech Innovation GmbH)
Clearly mobile platforms are quickly becoming an important way to use the internet and some are arguing phones and other mobile devices have already become our most important devices. In the wake of this development the idea of mobile apps, most importantly on iPhone and Android devices, has become the way to get additional functionality in the hands of users. App development however is not for the faint of heart and very specific skills are needed to get started in this field.
Google tries to improve the app situation for Android phones by introducing App Inventor, a tool that allows building Android apps simply by using a drag-and-drop interface. The video below shows how a very simple Android app is build and run on a phone using this web-based tool. As I am getting into App Inventor right now I can assure you it is much more capable than what you see in the video but it still illustrates the concepts.
On April 22, during the Earth Day 2010, the WAVE Consortium proceeded to the official launch of the second phase: the objective today is to reach 6,000 users over Europe. The first phase gathered more than 300 users in the pilot countries: France, Lithuania and England.
The ultimate goal for all the partners is to create a community of users and debaters in charge of testing online the WAVE platform and its innovating tool: Debategraph. This forum will use ground breaking graphical techniques to enable everyone, regardless of their level of knowledge, to exchange views and debate on complex climate change issues.
The WAVE Project will end in January 2011, after which the European Commission will decide whether this tool is efficient among others and if it should be used more intensively.
Climate change is one of the most challenging and most serious phenomenons which we must face today. Therefore citizens, special interest groups and decision-makers are invited to mobilize and subscribe, free of charge, to the following websites:
One of the major tasks the organizers of eParticipation projects face is designing workflows to bring thousands of people together in one online discussion – especially when the aim is not only to deliberate about a specific topic, but to produce concrete and useful outcomes. Two projects in America and Germany try to reach out to citizens all over the nation, using two very different approaches: In the US, “Our Budget, our Economy”, organized by AmericaSpeaks, and in Germany, the BürgerForum, initiated by the Bertelsmann Stiftung and Heinz Nixdorf Stiftung and conducted with the help of Zebralog Hagedorn.
“Our Budget, Our Economy” has reached its peak with a series of live events, so called Town Meetings, all over the USA on June 26th. Here, approximately 3,500 participants have discussed about the federal budget and worked out a message, saying which reforms they find to be most important. As the organizers announced, the project should help the participants to “weigh-in on the difficult choices necessary to put our federal budget on a sustainable path.”
We at Zebralog are currently working on the third edition of the BürgerForum, an online-discussion forum dedicated to produce the so called citizen agenda. In 2011, about 10,000 German citizens are going to join the discussion about the growing diversity in Germany’s society. Read the rest of this entry »