Toledo city council digitalises participation

The Youth Engagement Department of the city council of Toledo was living a key moment when they approached us. The first half of the term in office was over and councillor Helena Galán had achieved to implement structural reforms through a new regulation on participation. The main change was the creation of assemblies that complemented the work of traditional district councils, allowing for a greater implication of most local associations.

Nonetheless, in order for those reforms to have a real impact in the non-organized citizenship participation rates, it was necessary to implement a new action plan. Helena knew that one of the keys was to strengthen local associations. And then new online participation channels could be successfully opened. But, how should she do that?

First our consultants touched base with Helena’s team and with other city councillors. They were really committed to foster transparency and participation in the city government. But the actions carried out so far didn’t have a clear goal. One of the major weaknesses of Helena’s team was the lack of material and human resources, sometimes compensated by long hours of work that wouldn’t necessarily translate into better results.

Kuorum worked on a customized offer for the city council of Toledo. Our consultants had then the chance to deepen into the work that was being done in every district. We made a stakeholder analysis and we selected some hot topics that were fit for a fruitful and constructive debate. That work served as a basis to elaborate the first Action Plan to Invigorate Citizen Engagement in one of the historical cities of southern Europe.

Some of the measures taken in that plan were: Participatory processes’ management trainings for elected officials and public servants, online campaigning trainings for local associations, and the implementation of a free participation software for the city council, so that citizens and the administration could debate online.

After the success of this pilot project, the city council of Toledo is thinking of opening its first participatory budget, a milestone that seemed unattainable only some months before. Finally, thanks to the great job done in Toledo by Helena and her team with our help, the city was selected to become the location of the 2018 NovaGob Congress, an important international event on public innovation.