Citizen participation

Strengthen the interaction between representative democracy (municipality board and States) and the participation democracy (participation of citizens)?




The representative and participation democracy of today’s society often operate in two different worlds, while these two have the opportunity to strengthen each other within one, powerful local democracy. On the one hand, councilors are confronted with facts of which they are unsure whether these are a true reflection of a specific neighborhood or city. On the other hand, citizens may believe that they have little influence on the dialogue of the city council, even though they often feel the need to share their opinion, experiences and concerns on certain topics. This challenge aims to strengthen the interaction between the representative and participative democracies during the decision-making process.

The current process:

  • Councilors and members of state mainly communicate with their direct followers
  • Councilors and members of state are not always approachable for all citizens
  • Citizens do not have a clear overview of what is being discussed during councilor/member of state meetings
  • Citizens are insufficiently informed about when topics are discussed and whether the topics are relevant for them
  • Input for the dialogue of the council/states are mainly policy documents, political views and signals from their direct followers

Description of the desired situation:

  • Citizens are able to provide input on the topics of the council/state meetings in an easy and accessible way.
  • Citizens are provided with documentation on what has been discussed in the meetings of the council/State.

The challenge allows startups to further specify the domains of the interaction between citizens and council/state members. This has to be explicitly done in collaboration with these three parties, since it has to fulfill the desires of these stakeholders. The results of this ‘needs assessment’ may also indicate that the challenge must be further narrowed down/specified. An example is the new neighborhood agendas. The government has the aim to create an agenda, based on hard and soft data, for every neighborhood in the Netherlands. This document will register the challenges and priorities that are located within this area. The challenge could in theory be focused on The Hague’s interaction process between the council and citizens that would benefit the complete process setting up the neighborhood agenda’s. In this example, the council is only present at the final destination, but also interacts during the process.

The ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations and their collaboration program ‘Democracy in Action’ focus on the new forms of democracy. This challenge suits their needs to test and experiment with different and new approaches perfectly.

What are we looking?

  • The solution offers accessible (online) interaction between council/state members and citizens.
  • The solution is appealing for both end-users: council/state members and citizens.
  • The solution is developed in an open source (possibly based on the codebase ‘Openstad’).
  • The solution offers citizens the possibility to provide input (opinions, experiences, question) prior to a council/state meeting
  • The solution focusses on all phases of the council/state process (imaging, judgement and decision)
  • The solution is scalable to other municipalities and provinces.

What are we not looking for?
Marketing campaigns


  • Province of South Holland: Griffier, Bestuursdienst
  • Municipality of the Hague: CIO-office, Team Burgerparticipatie, afdeling Online
  • Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations: Lokale Digitale Democratie, Samenwerkingsprogramma ‘Democratie in Actie’ (BZK, NVG, Vereniging van Griffiers en Raadsleden)


More information

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