IT solutions for citizens dialogues

With the support of Integration- and Gender Equality Ministry and Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) operates a project during 2008 - 2013. The purpose of the project is to develop, test and spread methods that employ IT solutions for civic dialogues.

IT solutions for citizens dialogues

The Internet is becoming an increasingly important channel for communication between people. This trend is going to accelerate in coming years and the Internet will be the arena where countless citizens gather to get information and communicate. It is against this backdrop that SALAR and the Government have initiating a joint project to develop greater knowledge of and methods for civic dialogues via IT in various forms. The purpose of the project is to develop, test and spread methods that employ IT solutions for civic dialogues.

The project study and make use of lessons learnt in Sweden and abroad. Special attention are focused on Local Authorities and County Councils that are members of Civic Dialogue Project networks and opt for IT solutions for civic dialogues.

The Dialogue

The Dialogue is a Web portal where you can discuss and present information using text, audio and video. The dialogue is developed for use in public sector to support and improve the dialogue with citizens.

You can start discussions on different topics. You can moderate your discussions easily. The dialogue is developed in open source as a prototype for continued development and maintenance. In the link below you can see the Swedish prototype.

The Dialogue (Swedish web page)

The municipality of Älmhult

The municipality of Älmhult launched ”Debate Älmhult” in may 2010. It is open to anybody who wants to discuss anything that concern the Municipailty.

Debate Älmhult (Swedish web page)

E-Petitoning

The City of Malmö was the first to import, adapt and use an English tool for e-petitions in 2008. The tool was developed by the Public-I Group.

SALAR has contributed to the Public-I tools for e-petitions which is now tailor-made for Swedish market through a Swedish retailer. Citizens can post their suggestions for the development of the municipality or county using this instrument. Online petitions can be created and supported by registered local citizens. In the link below you can see the tool as used in the City of Malmö.

E-Petitoning - Malmöinitiativet (Swedish web page)

Short Message Service (SMS) – Citizen panel

The SMS-panel is a web portal where you can manage short surveys to the citizens using cell-phones. Citizens can register on the web site and identify issues they are interested in. The administrator can perform simple yes and no questions or allow for shorter textmesages.

The responses are compiled automatically and can then be processed in a spreadsheets. In the link below you can see the Swedish prototype.

Short Message Service (Swedish web page)

The CHAT

The chat is a Web-based dialogue tool tailored for discourse between citizens and elected representatives relating to a single issue over a finite period of time. The chat is built so that it can integrate seamlessly with third-party sites and is very easy to use.

Discussions are saved in the form of text files that can be re-used. For example, extracts from discussions can be publish on the website. The Chat is developed in open source as a prototype for continued development and maintenance.

In the link below you can see the Swedish prototype. The chat has been used by some municipalities for chatting with politicians, especially before the election in 2010

The Chat (Swedish web page)

The Budgetsimulator

The Budgetsimulator is a Swedish Financial simulator that makes it possible to invite citizens to give their views on spending priorities for a variety of areas. For example, operations, capital, investment and taxation.

The configuration is flexible, municipalities can choose which areas to enable and between whole or part budgets. The simulator can include the budgets of the various political parties.

Citizens are invited to upload their budgets in parallel. The municipality of Haninge has a recent assessment of the tool in a live situation when citizens were invited to make suggestions and vote on the design of a park in the municipality. It’s easy to add documents, photos and videos to your suggestions.

The Budgetsimulator also has a built-in forum for discussions. The Budgetsimulator is open-source and currently in prototype for continued development and maintenance. A link for the Swedish prototype is provided here:

The Budgetsimulator (Swedish web page)

Examples:

The municipality of Avesta (2010)

The municipality decided to regenerate the inner city. As such, citizens were asked to have their say on where regeneration was most urgently needed. Citizens voted for an area called “the small square”. In the next step citizens were asked to come up with proposals on what to do with “the small square”. One year later work started to renew “the small square”.

You decide! - Avesta centrum (Swedish web page)

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