Online citizen participation in Neighbourhood Partnerships

The way Neighbourhood Partnerships are executed today is quite old-fashioned and doesn't really empower residents, but just is another layer of Councillors' decision making.

Issues with the current approach:

- Having to turn up in person to a meeting, at an awkward time of day for people with children or people who have to work late.

- Having an agenda dictated by council officers, who aren't really in tune with what is going on in the community.


* Move participation in local government digital.  Perhaps the platform "George's Ideas Lab" could be used as the basis for the system.  Have rating of ideas and use this as a basis for funding.  Provide an area where feedback can be given from residents (without a topic having to be on an agenda).  Include a survey tool so regular feedback can be simply and quickly obtained by the residents.

* Register people using their Council Tax information, to verify their residency in a neighbourhood.  

* To make it accessible for older residents, have a set of inexpensive tablet computers available and take them to day centres, care homes, and perhaps hold meetings in different parts of the neighbourhood which let people use the system on tablets.  Make it a very simple system.

* Have guides to the neighbourhood partnership system in all libraries and train librarians in how it works.

* Train children in school on the system so they can help their parents and also be ready to use the system themselves. 

* Could also make it the basis of a local government portal, where other tasks can be done such as registering children for school, paying council tax online, reporting fly tipping, etc, etc, etc.  This might increase take-up.

* Make it very simple to use - accessible to residents of the city for whom English is not a first language.  Potential to build in online translation using existing tools.

We could say we are the first city to adopt digital local citizenship and participation!

Why the contribution is important

- Makes participation in local government more accessible to all

- Does not require people to be available to attend meetings at difficult times

- Potential to cut costs for administering neighbourhood partnerships

- Opportunity to establish Bristol as a leader in digital local citizenship 

- Empowers local residents, rather than the current system where really, the Councillors make all the decisions at the end of the day

- Can be integrated with volunteer systems

- Great platform for the city to also run consultations, since all the people registered will be registered using their council tax information (would need to be refreshed every year)  Reduce the number of paper-based communications from the council.

by user419622 on December 08, 2013 at 12:11PM

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Average rating: 3.6
Based on: 5 votes


  • Posted by user501014 December 09, 2013 at 19:36

    I think an idea based around leveraging digital / technology to solve community problems has the potential to really blow away the Bloomberg Challenge criteria; so this idea is along those lines. I posted a similar idea (but more geared around making it more fun to participate in civic life) and mentioned possibly using Neighbourhood Partnerships / schools / virtual youth service etc:

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