A highly intuitive electronic citizen platform allows the citizens of Opole to participate in municipal decisions, vote in district elections, and decide which tasks should be implemented in the city.
MODERN TECHNOLOGIES FOR COMMUNICATION
The City of Opole is constantly investing in modern information technologies to facilitate communication with its citizens. Consequently, electronic citizen platforms are prepared in a clear and simple way. They enable the citizens not only to obtain information on current activities, but also to get involved in the life of the city, without having to leave home.
ONLINE PLATFORMS FACILITATE CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT
All you need for civic activity in Opole is a computer or a smartphone with internet access. The elderly and digitally excluded have the opportunity to use the help of an assistant (an employee of the Opole Municipality) by phone or in person, at their place of residence or in public facilities, as well as in shopping centres. This project is particularly innovative due to the highly intuitive usability of the online platforms. The electronic online platforms make it possible to (1) submit applications to the Participatory Budget and Local Initiative, (2) vote in the district council elections, and (3) reserve conference rooms for NGOs and informal groups.
The Participatory Budget consists of allocating a part of the city's budget to tasks proposed by the citizens. The citizens decide which tasks will be implemented, most often in the form of voting. The Local Initiative is a form of cooperation between the citizens and the city’s authorities. The essence of this cooperation is the implementation of city tasks, mainly thanks to the involvement of a social work group.
REMOTE CONTRIBUTIONS OF CONSIDERABLE RELEVANCE
The opportunities provided by the online platforms build the citizens' trust in authorities, influence sustainable development, and give them the sense that they can have a real impact on the shape and functioning of the city. Furthermore, internet communication platforms accelerate the pace of information exchange and the ability of people to react to and submit ideas – all at low project maintenance costs. The project costs less than PLN 50,000 per year. The dedicated platforms allow citizens to decide on the following allocation of funds: nearly PLN 6 million in the Participatory Budget; PLN 100,000 for the Local Initiative; nearly PLN 3.5 million for activities undertaken by District Councils.
The platforms are also an ideal solution during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, since people continue to get involved without any risk of infection.
A comprehensive plan for developing dialogue with the citizens should not only involve adjusting the message to match the audience, but also implementing innovative forms and tools. The introduction of online tools for expressing opinion and active civic participation is very helpful to the citizens and it encourages them to enagage in a number of civic participation projects. Our aim is to enable everyone, regardless of their location, to communicate easily with the City Hall/Municipal Office concerning important issues (Participatory Budgeting, Local Initiative, election to the District Councils, reservation of conference rooms).