CiviQ participated as a speaker at the European Open Government Leader’s Forum in Milan. The forum aimed to better understand how participation can effectively foster innovation, improve public services and restore trust between public institutions and citizens. The focus of the sessions was models of civic participation at central, local and European level. The event also showcased best examples of effective public participation across Europe.
The forum was attended by a broad range of elected regional and national government representatives, city officials and leaders of civil society organisations. It was an exciting event and a unique chance for knowledge sharing and networking on the issue of open government in Europe.
CiviQ contributed to the morning fishbowl session with a proposal for governments to include consultation data as a key focus for open government. There is a huge amount of information locked up in public consultations that is not shared. Each new consultation returns to citizens as atomised agents, without leveraging the benefit not only of all the knowledge that has been accumulated on related policy and planning issues to date, but also without leveraging the potential for generating new policy ideas or knowledge by sharing this information with citizens. Where citizen knowledge and feedback is openly shared during the consultation period, this increases the chances of new ideas and knowledge emerging, as well as providing the data for further innovation.
Other speakers focused on progress in their particular field and the need for persistence in calling for more participative structures. One speaker raised the issue of legitimacy of CSOs that constantly poses a challenge when interacting with formal elected institutions. This was a question that generated a lot of interest, but due to the time and format of the event was left unanswered.
In general the Forum opened a myriad of questions and networking opportunities for participants. However, it would be ideal to maximise the opportunity of the event with more dialogue and debate in 2019.