Topic of the practice
“e-dialogos” is an innovative and fully fledged e-Democracy online platform for the citizens of the “City of Trikala” in Greece to participate in the decision-making processes of the city.
Good Practice Information
The objective is to offer all citizens the opportunity to get involved directly with the process of development and implementation of city policies through an online platform of dialogue and participation, in an effort to reverse the disengagement of citizens with their elected representatives and the policy process.
The innovation of the methodology lies in the development of an original, holistic and fully integrated approach to e-Participation, which combines online deliberative and voting processes in a new way. The methodology developed is based on best practices worldwide & is consistent with the current political theory of democracy and models of deliberation.
The e-deliberation model is essentially a tight ‘serial process’ within a specific time-frame, with 5 well-defined concrete steps embedded in each deliberative cycle. A process where the different e-tools are assigned to a particular and appropriate use .These e-tools are: an e-poll for agenda setting, a moderated e-forum with pre-determined discussion threads, e-surveys to quantify opinions and finally, interactive online real-time webcasting of the city council proceedings, where citizens can offer their feedback directly. All the tools are supported by an extensive, organically integrated and user-friendly information platform. Finally there is also an e-petition component for bottom-up mobilization of citizens, which actually operates outside the deliberation cycle. It is worth noting that the project is supported by a comprehensive communication strategy (from branding to leaflets, posters and other materials which inform, inspire and educate the public in the use of the platform).
Evidence of success
The end benefit of “e-dialogos” is engaged and informed citizens from start-to-end and an engaged city council committed to listen to citizens’ opinions. The impact is many fold: Socio-politically, it offered a new “role model” for other cities and public entities to follow, it educated the city officials in the uses of such a platform, it raised awareness for e-participation attracting media interest and it gave citizens a glimpse into what is possible through ICTs. In this sense, the most important outcome is the cultivation of a “culture of participation” among citizens and elected officials alike, fostering legitimacy and transparency in public services. Project-wise, the solution is scalable and replicable for other cities and different public entities. Moreover, there is a net gain in terms of technical, organizational and management know-how of similar projects for which there was no prior knowledge in the country.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
O. Raptis Odisseas Raptis
Annex completed on: 04-12-2011