During the intitial project phase, already existing civic participation applications have been extended and integrated with newly developed components. The result is the WeGovNow pilot platform which has been tried out by citizens, civil society members and municipal staff at the three WeGovNow pilot sites under day-to-day conditions.
In contrast to commonly available single-purpose civic engagement tools such as online citizen surveys or petition systems, WeGovNow represents an online ecosystem that supports co-creating responses to local policy challenges by the public administration, the residents, the civil society and local businesses. In operational terms, the pilot platform provides an integrated “tool box” enabling the support of diverse stakeholder participation process models rather than a single “work flow”.
To this end, the WeGovNow platform provides a set of core functions supporting civic participation and engagement for the purpose of addressing local policy challenges, including community networking & self-organisation (WeGovNow FirstLife), problem identification & tracking (WeGovNow Improve My City), democratic proposition development & decision making (WeGovNow LiquidFeedback), crowed sourcing of knowledge & ideas (WeGovNow Community Maps), exchange of volunteering opportunity & free items (WeGovNow Offers & Requests):
This WeGovNow component enables platform users to bring a problem they identify in their neighbourhood to the immediate attention of a responsible party, be it a unit within the public administration or a named non-government organisation. Transparency on whether identified problems are immediately solvable or require further co-development of an adequate response is achieved by means of issue tracking functionalities.
This WeGovNow component enables the platform user to feed own proposals into a structured and transparent process of collective proposition development and democratic decision making in terms of voting. The process allows considering pros and cons, enhancing existing propositions and suggesting alternatives as part of a structured and transparent deliberation process. Even if a subsequent voting result may not necessarily be legally binding for the public administration, this WeGovNow component supports informed decision making by responsible representatives based on popular vote.
This WeGovNow component allows the platform user to stay informed about what is going on in their community, to promote events and on-site activities as well as network around things of interest along a timeline. Platform users are able to create a newsfeed on places on a map, rather than on a personal page. By taking spatial aspects as focal point for user interaction, this WeGovNow component features community driven news sharing, networking and self-organisation in the sense of a social network based on a local map.
This WeGovNow component enables “crowed sourcing” of knowledge, ideas and aspirations in relation to specified policy themes, thereby taking the location(s) and spatial aspects of a given theme as a focal point of civic online engagement. The platform users contribute their knowledge, expertise, interests and opinions through the medium of interactive local maps designed around particular policy topics which are to be collectively addressed. Such interactive maps can easily be created and published with help of WeGovNow as a smart way of participatory community engagement and planning.
This WeGovNow component in enables platform users to post offers for items and services they give away for free within the local community. Also, local non-government organisations can present opportunities for volunteering.
In addition to the civic participation applications mentioned above, a number of software components were developed to enable running WeGovNow as an integrated online platform. The modular integration approach adopted for the purpose of WeGovNow allows the platform not only to be configurable according to users' needs and preferences but enables the future integration of further components into the overall WeGovNow ecosystem if desired.
Interested in implementing and/or further developing WeGovNow? Check How to get WeGovNow!