Project partner London Borough of Southwark hosted another WeGovNow stakeholder workshop this year and invited representatives of key actors to the Canada Water Library in London. The main objective of the event was to introduce and demonstrate the current prototype of the WeGovNow platform to relevant stakeholders, and thus to raise awareness for the immense benefits the platform can generate for the ways local residents, communities and the council engage with each other. In addition, the workshop has been implemented to receive helpful feedback from prospective users of the community engagement platform, including citizens, civil society organisations, civil servants and policy makers.
The workshop was held in two tailored sessions. Representatives from different municipal units attended the morning session and had the opportunity to follow a demonstration of the capabilities of the WeGovNow prototype version and the potential it bears for the optimisation of public administration. Targeted at local non-government organisations and citizens’ networks, the session held in the evening focused on citizen-government communication. By integrating interactive features such as a social network, a citizen resourcing system and a community map in tandem with a voting and discussion platform, WeGovNow can enhance collaboration among residents and the municipality, and organise decision making processes in a more transparent way.
All 35 participants were euphoric about the opportunities WeGovNow is expected to offer. At the same time, many useful remarks were received in relation to functionalities provided as well as the incorporation of the platform into day-to-day work internal to the municipality. In particular it is the effective synergy of offline and online public services that needs to be taken into consideration for a successful future implementation in Southwark. In pointing not only towards the benefits but also to relevant conditions for a local WeGovNow engagement platform, the workshop was beneficial for all involved parties.
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 693514.