29 November from 9.30 to 11.30 - Room 7 - Palais de l'Europe

Interpretation: FR/EN


Sponsored by the Council of Europe Centre for Local Government Reform


Thanks to e-participation platforms run by local authorities and NGOs, citizens have more opportunities to participate in the decision-making and improve governance at local level. What are the lessons learnt and the obstacles to mainstreaming such approaches? What kind of platform/technology would be the best to improve citizen participation at local level? Should the CoE Centre of Expertise develop a new Tool to help local authorities use new technologies in order to encourage citizen participation? This lab will be organised in a form of a "balloon debate" during which the participants will choose the best initiative.

Puzzled by Policy, Ireland

Puzzled by Policy (PBP) aims to strengthen citizen voices through an engaging and easy-to-use eParticipation platform to learn about and discuss important policy issues such as immigration - an area that directly impacts often hard-to-reach and socially exclude groups within society, and yet rarely incorporates their voices. PBP combines innovative and interactive online tools to engage citizens in the immigration and policy-making process. An immigration profiler helps users learn more about immigration issues and shows them where they stand in comparison to other stakeholders and users. The profiler can be embedded on any website/blog/social-media site. There is also a discussion forum, which enables citizen deliberation. Summaries of this participation are then passed onto interested policy-makers, who in turn provide feedback on the comments, increasing citizens influence on decision-making.

Website: http://www.puzzledbypolicy.eu/


Ms Deirdre LEE, Ireland, Research Associate in the eGovernment group at Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), NUI Galway

Deirdre Lee is a Research Associate in the eGovernment group at Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), NUI Galway. Her main research interests include Open Government, eParticipation, Linked Open Data, and Semantic and Social Web technologies. Lee is participating in many EC projects, including co-ordinating the project ‘Puzzled by Policy: Helping you be part of the EU' and is the technical coordinator of the project ‘Linked2Media'. Lee holds a M.Sc. Degree in Computer Science from the University of Dublin, Trinity College, and is currently a PhD student in the School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway.


Loomio, New Zealand

Loomio is an online platform for community governance and collaborative decision-making, developed by a co-operative social enterprise in Wellington. More than 3,000 people in hundreds of groups in more than 20 countries are already using Loomio as early adopting beta-testers. Users range from businesses to community organisations, software projects and social movements, to local and national government organisations. In New Zealand, Loomio is working closely with local government, providing a tool for large-scale citizen collaboration with Wellington City Council.

Website: https://www.loomio.org/



Mr Benjamin Michael KNIGHT, New Zealand, Loomio Social Enterprise

Ben Knight has an academic background in the evolution of collective intelligence, a practical background in grassroots community organising, and a passion for the potential of technology to spur positive social change. He was closely involved with the Occupy movement in 2011, which exposed him to the massively empowering results of collective decision-making on a large scale, and the possibility that online tools could make participatory democracy a part of everyday life.


Ms Vivien Rae MAIDABORN, New Zealand, Loomio Social Enterprise

Vivien Maidaborn has a depth of experience in organisational systems, decision making processes and social change. She has been CEO of CCS Disability Action and Relationships Aotearoa, and is the founder of the social enterprise Lifemark.


CitYsens, Spain

KyoPol's project aims to provide a free non-partisan environment to foster municipal civic participation. NGOs, citizens, civil servants, politicians & media are provided with tools to communicate, discuss, carry out participatory processes, coordinate internal work, etc. This environment, whose name is CitYsens, is being constructed as Free Software and the aim is to make it sustainable both in developed and developing countries. The research, design and construction of the system are characterized by their interdisciplinary and collaborative approach, incorporating socio-political, technical and participative components. (video: Activate subtitles to get the English translation)

Website: http://www.kyopol.net/


Mr Pedro PRIETO MARTIN, Spain, Founding President of the Asociación KyoPol - Symbiotic City

Pedro Prieto Martin is the founding president of the Asociación KyoPol - Symbiotic City, a civic organization which aims to foster Civic Engagement by means of ICT technologies. The association is the oldest Spanish NGO devoted to the promotion of e-Participation. Pedro holds a master on Sociology and a PhD on Computer Science [e-Democracy]. Before devoting himself to (e)Participation, Pedro worked for six years as a Technical Lead at Hewlett-Packard (Germany).



Discussants are invited to make critical comments during the lab on the impact, transferrability, sustainability and risk of the initiative.

Mr Steven CLIFT, USA, Founder and Executive Director of E-Democracy.org

Steven Clift launched E-Democracy.org in 1994 as the world's first election information website. His "government by day, citizen by night" insights were built as leader of the State of Minnesota's first e-government initiative. He spoke across 30 countries for over a decade from Estonia to Libya to Mongolia on open government and civic participation to support non-partisan, volunteer-powered efforts for inclusive online local democracy. He leads a dedicated team with the BeNeighbors.org effort to connect all neighbors online (and off) in public life across race and ethnicity, generations, immigrant and native-born, and more. In 2013, Steven was named a White House Champion of Change for transformative civic engagement with open government.


Mr Sorin IONITA, Romania, Research Director of Expert Forum

Sorin Ionita is research director of Expert Forum, a Bucharest-based think tank. He is also a member of the European Economic and Social Council (EESC) and an associate lecturer at Babes Bolyai University in Cluj. He is member of the Directory Board of the Romanian Social Development Fund (FRDS, development agency for poor communities) and consultant with the Council of Europe, World Bank, and UNDP, with a focus on Eastern Europe and the Balkans. His areas of expertise cover: Local government finance, decentralization and related services, EU pre-accession and structural funds in CEE, and institutional evaluation of the democratic systems.

Mr Toomas SEPP, Estonia, Chief Executive Officer, Tallinn City Office

Toomas Sepp has worked as the administrative leader of Tallinn City Office since 1992 and has been actively involved in the process of administrative reform of local government in both in Estonia and Tallinn since then. Being graduated as a lawyer from Tartu State University, Mr Sepp started his public service career in the Ministry of Housing and Engineering of Estonia. Mr Sepp is actively involved in local government training programmes, lecturing both at home and abroad on public administration reform and new ICT solutions implementing e-services in local governance.

Rapporteur to the plenary session

Mr Clemens LAMMERSKITTEN, Germany, Member of the Lower Saxon Parliament and Vice-President of the Bureau of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

Clemens Lammerskitten has been a member of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe since March 2012 where he is on the Monitoring Committee and a member of the EPP Group. He has been a Member of the Parliament of Lower-Saxony since 2008 and was re-elected in 2013. He is a member of the Committee for Federal, European and Media Affairs and Regional Development, alternate     member of the Committee for Education, and Secretary of the Board of the Parliament of Lower-Saxony. Since 2011, he has been President of the County Council of Osnabruck and member of the City Council of Wallenhorst.


Mr Dan POPESCU, Head of the Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform, Council of Europe



Your opinion

Does/Do the following initiative(s) increase significantly citizens' influence in the policy-making process and/or make democratic institutions more transparent, responsive and accountable? 

For the Puzzled initiative:
% Votes
49% 39
a. Yes
51% 41
b. No

Total Votes: 80

Voting is disabled because this poll expired on 29/11/13 12:00.

For the Loomio initiative:
% Votes
74% 77
a. Yes
26% 27
b. No

Total Votes: 104

Voting is disabled because this poll expired on 29/11/13 12:00.

For the CitYsens initiative:
% Votes
68% 65
a. Yes
32% 31
b. No

Total Votes: 96

Voting is disabled because this poll expired on 29/11/13 12:00.