There was an interesting debate on the Guardian looking at ‘Beneficiaries-led development: can assistance be crowdsourced?’ by Anna Scott. The focus of the conversation is how crowd sourcing can be used by aid groups seeking to help in developing countries.
I was interviewed this morning on Radio New Zealand’s ‘Ideas’ show hosted by Chris Laidlaw which focused on ‘Democracy beyond the ballot box. New technology and its role in the provision of people’s say.” Aside from winning some free movie tickets for being caller number nine, this was my first radio experience.
The first part of the interview features Giovanni Allegretti talking about participatory budgeting then Karen Cronin talks about her experiences. I follow up at the end with our work with Citizens Panels and some of the Delib case studies.
Back in October I posted I link to “Policy Formulation using Online Engagement” by Craig Thomler. It’s a useful document, in fact so useful I’ve taken some of the key points and condensed them below, I’m convinced that following this process will help in result in developing great policy – Enjoy!
(Disclaimer: Actual ‘greatness’ of policy developed may vary)
Citizen Space has had a number of enhancements made to it this month (outlined below).
One of the significant ones is the ability to publish submissions on the Citizen Space site. The Scottish Government have used this functionality in the recent "Your Scotland, Your Referendum". An amazing 18,000 responses were redacted and published using this feature, which has given it an excellent practical test. Click here to see what it looks like.
It's Citizen Space release time again. We update and improve Citizen Space on a (mostly) monthly basis as part of our continuous improvement process.
Here is our Release Announcement and Changelog for Citizen Space v1.9.4:
Public facing: we've updated the article 'What is RSS?', which public users can find in 'Advanced Search'. You can read more about RSS in this article.
When you're creating online consultations: we have added status messages to report any errors in 'Add' and 'Edit' pages for answer components. The page description from the top of the 'Move Questions' page has been removed as it was confusing.
When you're reviewing your consultation responses: we have removed the number of incomplete responses from the consultation dashboard as it was causing confusion; our product roadmap contains a more robust approach to reporting incomplete responses. Also, the layout of checkboxes when filtering responses has been improved to make it simpler to cross-tabulate responses:
Analysts now have permission to add a new response to a consultation that has no existing responses (for example when inputting hard-copy responses). Previously only Administrators could do this.
We've added JSON support to API search results and the consultation aggregator. You might not know what this means, but your developers are going to love it! This feature benefits developers by offering an additional format when integrating results from Citizen Space into other websites or apps.
There's a whole host of information about the Citizen Space API in these articles.
We've fixed a few things that were bugging us.
Coming in 2013
We don't put a specific release date on features because we won't release them until they're good enough. You can learn more about our development process by reading this article. The following features are either in development or being pioneered with specific customers:
Publishing of consultation responses: For some types of consultation, it's appropriate to publish who responded and the responses received. We're developing this feature for Citizen Space, which requires several challenges to be met:
- publishing must respect the wishes and privacy of respondents who may want to remain anonymous, or who do not want their response published;
- the content of some responses may need to be redacted before publishing in order to remove personal data, or text that is inappropriate.
Response publishing is being pioneered with the Scottish Government, who used it for the Scottish Referendum consultation. More than 18,000 responses were redacted and published using this feature, which has given it an excellent practical test.
We expect to roll this feature out to all clients in the first part of 2013.
Map question option for online consultations: The London Borough of Camden is trialling a map question type to be used in online surveys. This allows respondents to give their views by placing markers in a grid on a map in order to indicate where they would like housing, shops, parks, etc. Camden are using this to set priorities for an area planning framework, and the feature could be used for a wide range of other small or large scale planning issues.
We would like to pioneer this with a small number of further customers in early 2013.
Add dates to consultations for events / activities: We are currently working on a system that allows dates to be added to consultations for events or activities. For example, a consultation may involve a series of public meetings. Details of these can be added to the consultation and will be displayed to citizens, who will be able to add these events to calendar apps on their computer or mobile device.
This is being pioneered with Wyong Shire Council.
Gantt chart showing consultation timings: When scheduling consultations, it can be useful to see what other consultations are scheduled around the same time. This can help avoid consultation fatigue for citizens, and to plan work for staff supporting consultations. To aid this we've developed a Gantt chart view of consultations, which is also being pioneered with Wyong Shire Council.
We're looking for one further customer to pioneer this with at the start of 2013, and then we aim to release this to all customers in the first part of 2013.
In 2012 the Scottish Government consulted with the public on how the upcoming referendum on independence should be run. Citizen Space was the consultation platform which was used for this exercise….
The DIA in their New Zealand Government Web Toolkit have published a useful guide on 'Social Media in Government: How to Handle a Mishap' Essential reading for anyone in Government working in the…