Citizenlink eParticipation Awards (CLePA)

Published on: 26/12/2008
Document
In 2008 in The Netherlands for the first time a national eParticpation Awards scheme was organised. Its aim is to reward succesful initiatives in the field of eParticipation and to inspire potential followers. eParticipation is conceived of as using ICTs to involve citizens in improving public service delivery, the democratic process and societal inclusion. There are two categories: an initiative by Government and an initiative by Society. Selection is based on compliance with the Dutch eCitizen Charter. Out of 32 cases an independent jury nominated 10, and choose two winners. The Awards are organised by Citizenlink on behalf of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.Citizenlink (Burgerlink) is an initiative of the Dutch Government to improve the performance of the public sector by involving citizens. To that end Citizenlink promotes quality standards, measures citizen satisfaction and stimulates eparticipation. Citizenlink will run from 2008-2010 and is part of ICTU, the Dutch implementation organisation for ICT and government. The awards were granted by the Secretary of State for Internal Affairs at the Governent 2.0 Conference on December 4th, 2008. The 2 winners were RotterdamIdee in the category Government and Buurtlink in the category Society. RotterdamIdee was first because it provides citizens the possibility of co-decision in projects to improve their city. This opportunity was used widely and other cities can easily copy this approach. Buurtlink wins because it provides a ready made format for a neighbourhood website. It makes use of available applications and its basic postcode structure facilitates citizens meeting one another.

Policy Context

As of 2008, the Dutch national eGovernment Strategy has been widened to inlcude active support for eParticipation. Acccording to the white paper, eParticipation is conceived of as using ICTs to involve citizens in improving public service delivery, the democratic process and societal inclusion. The first step was the founding of a special programme dedicated to further involvement of citizens in improving government performance, called Burgerlink (Citzenlink). The second step was the introduction of an annual eParticipation Award for innovative projects, both initiated by public administration bodies and non governmental agencies (actually the successor of the prestigious WebWiseAward which has been in existence for ten years). The third step is helping feasible pilot projects to make the change to life operation.

Description of target users and groups

Government Agencies, NGO's, Citzens

Description of the way to implement the initiative

Annual event, starting with a survey of relevant cases, followed by a selection of nominees by an independent jury and concluding with an awards' ceremony consisting of presenting the nominees and the granting of a trophy to the winners by the Secretary of State of the Interior. In 2008 the jury selected 10 nominees. In the category Government were nominated in alphabetical order: www.burgernet.nl, www.ikgaverder.nl, www.rotterdamidee.nl, www.voorst.nl and www.watstemtmijnraad.nl. In the category Society were nominated in alphabetical order: www.berekenuwrecht.nl, www.buurtlink.nl, www.geluidsnet.nl, www.lombox.nl and www.octopusplan.nl. The 2 winners were RotterdamIdee in the category Government and Buurtlink in the category Society. RotterdamIdee was first because it provides citizens the possibility of co-decision in projects to improve their city. This opportunity was used widely and other cities can easily copy this approach. Buurtlink wins because it provides a ready made format for a neighbourhood website. It makes use of available applications and its basic postcode structure facilitates citizens meeting one another.

Technology solution

Technology choice: Open source software

Main results, benefits and impacts

eParticipation in The Netherlands, like in many other countries, is still in its infancy. At the start of the awards' scheme, it turned out that a comprehensive overview of innovative and relevant cases was lacking. The national survey conducted filled this gap. As the jury noted in its report, turning an innovative pilot into a tangible result is a hard task. For this very reason, Citizenlink is entrusted with the task of supporting a limited number of cases to transfer from proof of concept into a sustainable service.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

Attendance at the awards ceremony was high and a special brochure with an overview of nominees and winners was distributed. Subsequently a Community of Practice was started, which is producing a wiki on eParticipation. Presentation of cases: http://www.youtube.com/user/eCitizenprogramme

Lessons learnt

- eParticipation is still in its infancy and needs support - eGovernment should shift focus from eServices to eParticipation - Transparency of information is a condition for eParticipation Scope: Local (city or municipality), National, Regional (sub-national)