Puzzled by Policy (Puzzled by Policy)

Published on: 10/11/2011
Document

Governments frequently struggle to engage citizens in the policy making process, often resulting in ill-informed policies and disgruntled citizens. Current ways of informing citizen and allowing them to participate can be difficult to access, time consuming to use and yield little results. 'Puzzled by Policy: Helping you to be part of the EU' (CIP-ICT-PSP-2009-3bis) aims to help correct this situation by providing citizens with an engaging and easy-to-use platform, where they can learn about and engage with policy issues. The project combines mature methods enabling citizens to participate with profiling, discussion, social networking and widget technologies. It will reduce the complexity of policy-making and legislative processes of EU and national governments and pro-actively engage citizens in the policy-making process.

Project partners:

  • DERI, NUI Galway, Ireland
  • European University Institute (EUI), Italy
  • Cyntelix, The Netherlands
  • Athens Technology Centre (ATC), Greece
  • 21c Consultancy, United Kingdom
  • Greek Research and Technology Network (GRNET), Greece
  • Institute for Electronic Participation (INePA), Slovenia
  • City of Torino, Italy
  • Dimos Athinaion Epicheirisi Michanografisis (DAEM), Greece
  • National Infocommunications Services (NISZ), Hungary
  • University La Laguna, Spain
  • LUSA, Portugal

Policy Context

Immigration for employment purposes

  • Council Directive 2005/71/EC on a specific procedure for admitting third-country nationals for the purposes of scientific research
  • Council Recommendation to facilitate the admission of third-country nationals to carry out scientific research in the European Community (2005/762/EC)
  • Council Directive 2009/50/EC on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly qualified employment Commission Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the
  • Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of seasonal employment Commission Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the
  • Council on conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer

Student immigration

  • Council Directive 2004/114/EC on the conditions of admission of third-country nationals for the purposes of studies, pupil exchange, unremunerated training or voluntary service

Immigration for family reunification

  • Council Directive 2003/86/EC on the right to family reunification

Long-term resident third-country nationals in the EU

  • Council Directive 2003/109/EC concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents

Description of target users and groups

Puzzled by Policy has two target user groups (1) the hard-to-reach such as the young, disabled and unemployed and (2) the mass of everyday citizens. Unlike activists and special interest groups, both groups often find it difficult to find and use relevant information and tools to engage in policymaking - albeit for differing reasons. Uniquely, Puzzled by Policy will meet both their needs in a manner that promotes social inclusion by enabling citizens to a) easily access the policy debate, and relevant sources of information, via mobile phones and/or popular social networking sites b) easily see how their existing views relate to EU policy, c) easily process their views, contact key decision makers and join in the debate and d) easily see and review policy positions.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

The platform will take the form of a website that will integrate the Policy Profiler and u-debate tools, provide links to relevant decision makers and policy information at both the national and EU levels and enable citizens to evaluate policy positions. The platform will use new widget technology to enable users to access and contribute content in their own language – thereby creating a genuinely inclusive pan-European debate for the first time ever! More specifically, the Puzzled by Policy platform will use the outcomes and data gathered from the widely deployed EU-Profiler tool, which enabled citizens to identify which political party they most closely aligned with, to take development of the Profiler logic to the next stage – namely to enable citizens to find out where they stand in relation to existing EU policy. Having ‘hooked’ citizens by helping them to better understand their own views, Puzzled by Policy will then use the u-debate tool, which enables citizens to join in a visual online debate, to make learning about and debating policy simpler and easier than ever before.

Technology solution

Puzzled by Policy will bring together the following tools in an integrated platform:

  • Policy Profiler – profiling application
  • u-debate – argument visualisation application
  • Beemboard Widget Syndication Platform – application with language localisation and viral feature

The platform will take the form of a website that will integrate the Policy Profiler and u-debate tools, provide links to relevant decision makers and policy information at both the national and EU levels and enable citizens to evaluate policy positions. The platform will use new widget technology to enable users to access and contribute content in their own language – thereby creating a genuinely inclusive pan-European debate for the first time ever!

Technology choice: Proprietary technology

Main results, benefits and impacts

Main Outcomes

  • Enable transparent decision and policy making by supporting the drafting of legislative text
  • Enhance the direct participation of citizens and civil society in decision making
  • Involve citizens by enhancing social networking capacities

Expected Impacts/Benefits

  • High level of maturity in the use of ICT’s in transparent, participatory and accountable decision making
  • Demonstrated improvements in policy and decision making
  • Enhanced citizens’ capacity to participate in EU policy and decision-making through wide scale collaboration across the EU

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Lessons learnt

The Puzzled by Policy platform will only be launched in January 2012, therefore it is still a little early to report on lessons learnt.

Scope: Local (city or municipality), National, Pan-European