Citizen Engagement Toolkit: technology to connect communities

A collection of digital tools to help governments interact with the public

Bringing citizens into the policymaking process can be rewarding, but how to make it work is a difficult question for any government.

Sometimes, old fashioned face-to-face conversations are the best route. But digital innovation has also provided new and exciting ways to interact with the public. From civic chatbots through to political apps and online forums, digital tools are giving a voice to citizens across the globe.

There’s a lot out there — but first you need to find it. That’s why we’ve compiled a collection of resources so that you can quickly and easily discover some of the tools you might need, all in one place. From citizen participation platforms to data collection software, these technologies are there to help you to communicate with citizens, build communities and engage with the public.

We want this to be a living document, so tell us if we’ve missed something, or give us feedback if you’ve used any of the tools below. You’re the policymaker — not us. This is just a roundup of what’s out there, it’s up to you to decide which tools are best for your project and your community.

 

QUICK NAVIGATION

Citizen participation platforms

Crowdsourcing and co-design tools

Mobile apps

Communication tools

Multi-application software

Data collection tools

Data sharing tools

 

CITIZEN PARTICIPATION PLATFORMS

MindMixer
An online engagement tool letting citizens offer answers to challenges put forward by government

Open Town Hall
An online forum where government can get feedback from citizens on local issues

Your Priorities
An online participatory social network that lets citizens debate innovative ideas to improve their communities

Granicus’s Citizen Participation Suite
A platform where governments can webcast public meetings and citizens can share suggestions and feedback

Horizon State
A community engagement platform that uses surveying tools to generate crowd insights

Bang the Table’s Engagement HQ
A platform to help government listen to, inform and collect data from citizens

Decidim
A digital platform for citizen participation that helps organisations and public institutions to self-organise democratically

PopVox
A non-partisan platform for legislative information, advocacy, and governing tools

CONSUL
A free citizen participation tool featuring debates, participatory budgeting, citizen proposals, voting and collaborative legislation

PlaceSpeak
An interactive platform that allows citizens to give feedback, suggest ideas, communicate with other residents and reach decision-makers

MetroQuest
A public engagement software that allows governments to engage people and obtain data across a wide demographic

CitizenLab’s Toolbox
A platform where government can consult citizens, make open proposals, receive feedback, engage in participatory budgeting, and share and visualise information

Common Ground for Action
A public deliberation platform that allows small groups to learn about an issue, discuss ideas and identify collective responses

OpenNorth’s Citizen Budget
An online budget simulator that educates residents about budgets and solicits their feedback

 

CROWDSOURCING AND CO-DESIGN TOOLS

IdeaScale
An idea management platform that collects citizen feedback on projects through crowdsourcing and social media

Crowdbrite
An interactive platform where citizens can get involved in government projects by sharing maps, photographs, sketches, comments and videos, as well as voting on ideas and viewing results

Civocracy
An online collaboration platform that allows governments to co-create projects and policies with their communities

Discourse.org
An open-source forum software for crowdsourcing solutions and community discussion

CoUrbanize
An online platform which allows municipalities planning new initiatives to share plans with the community and receive input and feedback

 

MOBILE APPS

SeeClickFix
Custom mobile apps to help governments engage with citizens through centralised services, information and notifications

At Stake
A multiplayer roleplaying game that can be used to explore a variety of community issues

 

COMMUNICATION TOOLS

Textizen
A web platform that sends, receives, and analyses text messages to facilitate communication between governments and citizens, and allow governments to create surveys quickly and easily

Citibot
A chatbot that allows governments to listen and respond to citizens through text messaging and social media

AKA’s Citizen Engagement Solution
A software that manages citizen requests from enquiry through to resolution

Accenture Citizen Engagement Lightning Bolt Solution
A platform where citizens can report issues surrounding city services, browse articles and resources, view upcoming events, find information and access city staff

MySociety’s FixMyStreet
A platform that allows citizens to report faults to authorities for fixing

Apptivism
A tool that helps citizens and communities share their views on civic issues through Messenger chatbots

 

MULTI-APPLICATION SOFTWARE

Delib
A customisable software with multiple applications including ‘Citizen Space,’ a public involvement application, ‘Budget Simulator,’ a deliberative budget tool, and ‘Dialogue,’ an online conversations function

D-CENT
Tools to enable citizens to keep informed, collaboratively draft policy, and vote on solutions and budgeting

Block by Block
A foundation integrating Minecraft into public space planning in order to increase the involvement of community members

 

DATA COLLECTION TOOLS

CrowdGauge
A free tool for creating educational online games to help gauge the values, priorities and preferences of a community

CitizenLab’s Admin Dashboard
An analytics dashboard that enables city administrators to see how their community engages online

MobiSAM
A mobile application where governments can use data from citizen surveys to influence and monitor service delivery

Pol.is
A tool that helps organisations or governments visualise what their members or communities think about issues by analysing survey data

Slido
A questionnaire tool that can be used by governments to collect answers from citizens in response to specific and detailed questions

 

DATA SHARING TOOLS

Esri
Smart maps and analysis that governments can use to communicate with citizens, as well as distribute and collect data

MySociety’s Saylt
An open source tool for making transcripts easy to read, search and share on the internet

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