Practical tests of tools for citizen dialogue in Norwegian municipalities
After an initial survey, Funka is entrusted with the task of leading the implementation of digital tools for citizen dialogue in two Norwegian municipalities. The contractor is the Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation.
The result of the initial survey is a report showing the variety of tools, and a deeper description of four of the tools we selected as extra interesting.
There is a large spread both in complexity and functionality of the digital tools that a municipality can use to enhance digital dialogue with its citizens. Everything from ordinary social media to complex tools for making suggestions, debating, budgeting and voting. Although virtually all municipalities use simpler tools like Facebook or user surveys, very few are testing more comprehensive tools that give citizens greater opportunities for real dialogue. The four tools that we, together with the Norwegian Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, selected and described in more detail are examples of different types of more powerful tools that are used internationally but very little in Norway and Sweden.
The project continues with that one of the tools, LiquidFeedback, will be tested in Norwegian municipalities. Focus will be on evaluating the tool in a proper user situation and identifying what makes a municipality able to succeed with this type of tool.
We believe that a great deal of the key to success lies in the municipality's own processes and ways of implementing the tool. Therefore, this part of the project is very interesting, says Andreas Cederbom, Head of Analysis at Funka.
We will translate the tool into Norwegian and implement it in two municipalities. Through workshops with the municipalities we will then decide how the tools will be used and to what extent. We will also train people in the municipal organisations in how to handle the tools. An important part is to develop procedures for communicating to citizens, how data is collected and how the tools are to be maintained in order for the municipality to get the most out of it. The project will be completed in the summer 2019 and then a new report will be published focusing on the implementation within the municipal organisation.
It is important to point out that we within the framework of this assignment have not investigated the accessibility of the tools. In parallel with this assignment, we also carry out a project funded by The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs, regarding accessibility in this type of tools.