Decidim is an open-source citizen participation platform that allows governments to empower people to participate in the policy process. The platform was first used in Barcelona and has since been utilized in over 30 countries. Decidim is a complex platform with a wide variety of features. It can be configured to allow citizens to suggest policy proposals, comment on pending legislation, vote on implementing initiatives. It can also be used to host meetings, conduct surveys, facilitate participatory budgeting processes, map issues, and organize citizen assemblies.
Decidim is one of the more complex citizen engagement options. It has a number of features that can be customized and used or not used depending on the needs of a given context. It relies on having an entity, usually a municipality, who is willing to dedicate resources to maintaining the platform and engaging with citizens on it.
Decidim allows governments to directly engage citizens in policy debates, using a variety of tools including votes on initiatives, participatory budgeting, and commentary on pending legislation.
Use Case/Case study
The tool has been used at the municipal level in over 30 countries. You can read about specific use cases on the Decidim website
Budget for implementing
The application is open-source and free for anyone to use, but there will be hosting costs whether you host the platform yourself or rely on a vendor to do it for you. In addition, you should budget a fair bit of staff time dedicated to maintaining the site.
Technical capacity required
Technical capacity will be required to host the site, though there are various tech vendors that offer hosting of Decidim (such as Voca). The application itself has a number of features, so those operating on the platform should be comfortable working with complex tech applications and experience with the Ruby coding language. More information about hosting the tool is available on GitHub.
Level of effort to implement
An implementing entity should plan on having several staff members making maintenance of the site a key priority in their job, performing tasks such as moderation, engaging with citizens, and integrating feedback and initiatives from the site into the policy process.
A demo is available at try.decidim.org