How do you, as a municipality, enter into dialogue with citizens of different origins and opinions? And why is a citizen panel a valuable instrument of a representative democracy? Commissioned by research, consultancy and participation agency EMMA, we have developed a selection tool that contributes to a residents' deliberation. If you want to know how, read further.
What is resident council?
Citizen panel is a light form of citizen participation in which a group of citizens are selected to consider a social issue once.
Because sufficient representative reflection is required when collecting citizen input, a broad group is contacted, after which a group must be selected.
EMMA was commissioned by the RES region of West Brabant to organize a citizen panel. We were asked by EMMA to develop a selection tool for this citizen panel that helps in the selection of a representative group of citizens who meet the privacy legislation requirements. It is a tool that is not inhibited or controlled by party politics.
How did we write to the representative group?
The selection tool selects based on the characteristics of the respondents. 10,000 addresses from the region were drawn for the citizen panel and received an invitation by letter with a unique code. With the code, the recipients could register for the resident deliberation. After registration, they were asked a number of characteristics that were important for the issue. Think age; residence; income and so on.
At the conclusion of the registration process, the system made a draw from all registrations based on an algorithm. This resulted in a list with the desired number of participants and this group eventually also received the message to participate in the resident deliberation.
How have we ensured that privacy is guaranteed?
By using standard frameworks, we prevent common security errors (such as SQL injection). In addition, we ensure security by means of a good architecture and well thought-out processes. This project has been set up in accordance with all (technical) requirements of the GDPR, including hosting within the EU.
In addition, it was ensured that the citizen panel would be accessible to as diverse a group as possible, whereby it was decided to translate invitations into the five most common languages in the region.