My Street Portal (Fix my Street)

Inspired by the British case "Fix my street", "My Street" portal is a project of civic participation that allows the active involvement of citizens in managing their street or neighborhood and report problems such as the need for action on public roads or maintenance of equipment as well as suggesting improvements directly to the Town Hall. The platform enables also to follow the evolution of a case.

The My Street projet is part of the new tendency of ways for bringing together the public administration and citizens, and is an essential part of the change of the paradigm of interaction between public administration and civil society by encouraging collaborative approaches in the development of public service based on the contributions generated by citizens.

Policy Context

Portugal recently adopted a new ICT agenda in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of all pubic investments in this area. The program is the result of a major effort involving several public bodies and reflects the will to organise and rationalise public expenses in this domain.

The following objectives were foreseen:

  1. Improvement of the mechanisms of governance.
  2. Cost reduction.
  3. Use of ICT to enhance administrative change and modernisation;
  4. Implementation of common ICT solutions.
  5. Stimulating economic growth;

The program is based on 25 rationalisation measures in the ICT domains that were identified by their transversal nature and potential impact on the entire Administration.  After its full implementation, it is expected that the program can provide a reduction of € 500 million in the annual operating expenses of central government. Thus, among the elements that should be considered, figure not only the items directly related to the management of ICT (software, hardware, services and communications) but also other efficiency gains, particularly in facilities management, human resources and other operating costs.

Several of the foreseen initiatives can be re-used in other countries, as the objectives of the program are transversal and with applicability beyond a specific national panorama.  For example, the ex-ante and ex-post evaluation mechanism, integrated in the public procurement process.

As it can be easily understood, a major effort will now be necessary to guarantee the effective application of the program. With the involvement of several public bodies and benefiting from a strong political support, an ambitious roadmap is now underway.

Description of target users and groups

One of the objectives of Open Government is changing the paradigm of interaction between public administration and civil society, also by encouraging collaborative approaches in the development of public service based on the contributions generated by citizens.

The project 'Fix My Street' is assumed as one of the most typical examples of the above approach at national level. The citizen uses the platform to notify local authorities about the need for actions to be taken in public space. It is therefore based on alerts generated by the people on the platform, which requires the immediate action of Local Government..The whole process of interaction between the citizen and the municipality is  developed on the platform, thus creating collaborative dynamics that reflect well the concept of open government above.

Main results, benefits and impacts

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have not stopped creating new ways of bringing together citizens and Public Administration. New information and communication channels are being opened with that objective , revolutionising the possible interactions between the public administrations and civil society. Innovative tools and methodologies now allow the creation of a more open and transparent Public Administration, easily accessible to citizens and businesses. The spatio-temporal contraction brought by ICT allows this, thereby removing the old paradigms of a not very acessibleto civil society Public Administration.

These days, the Administration should not only be open, but also proactive in these areas, providing mechanisms that allow citizens to easily access public services.

This project was born with the aim of encouraging transparency, cost efficiency and greater civil society participation in the management of the "public good".

When submitted to the "My Street" portal, by Photo or text only, all reports are forwarded to the selected municipality. It is possible to mark the occurrences directly on the map, through a new application that uses Google Maps technology, namely georeferencing.

With 9 500 reported incidents, the platform also allows  to see the evolution of treatment of the case. The citizen is informed via email as soon as the situation is resolved.

Since 27 May 2010, it also became mandatory to fill in the "Civil Parish" in addition to the field "City" and "District" which already exists, which allows to specify with greater detail the location of the events, as well as the participation since the beginning of the relevant civil parish.

This initiative, included in the Municipal Simplex Programme 2009/2010, has relied on the active participation of local authorities, and it is expected that more and more municipalities join the initiative, giving citizens a more active role in improving the local problems and helping Municipalities take care of its streets.

Lessons learnt

The participation of civil society is essential if we want a transparent, democratic, efficient and modern governance . Citizens have to be a part of decisions, have at their disposal instruments and tools to participate and feel part of the problem and its resolution.

Scope: Local (city or municipality), National, Regional (sub-national)
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