Facilitating citizen consultation in the intermunicipality
Monday, May 17, 2021
Inter-municipalities have many assets to give a real impact to citizen consultation: an organization based on inter-municipal cooperation, structuring competences that already oblige them to consult citizens (environment, equipment, housing, territorial coherence...), more important means than the communes, a transversality that corresponds to the mobility issues of users, etc.
In practice, however, concerting in the intermunicipality still presents some difficulties (method, mobilization of citizens...). As an actor of local democracy, Fluicity has taken care to exchange with community elected officials, and propose concrete solutions through its support and its citizen consultation platform.
- What is the right method for my intercommunal consultation project?
- How can I mobilize citizens both for concrete and immediate projects, and for long-term macro projects?
- How can I prove that the consultation has had an impact?
1. What is the right method for my intermunicipal consultation project?
Inform, consult, consult, co-construct... There are several ways of involving citizens in public decision-making, but which one corresponds to the needs of your project? Which tool is the most appropriate? When to consult? What degree of citizen involvement? Without a real methodology to support it, consultation can quickly become a source of frustration for both the public and decision-makers.
Rest assured, participatory approaches are no more complex in intercommunality than elsewhere! But they are still rarely the subject of a real global strategy, with a clearly defined intention and objectives.
Fluicity: a flexible platform and strong methodological support
Our approach combines flexibility and transmission.
Our support begins with an analysis of the context and scope of the consultation, in consultation with the communities: is it a matter of establishing a diagnosis in collaboration with the citizens? To mobilize around a project or a public policy? To collect ideas or even to validate decisions?
Our online consultation platform offers different tools (call for proposals, survey, mapping,...) to adapt to the needs of organizers. We advise them on the methodology best suited to meet their objectives and accompany them throughout the consultation: retroplanning, organization, engagement and communication strategy, data analysis, etc.
2. How to mobilize citizens both on immediate and concrete projects, and in the long term on macro projects of the intermunicipality?
The second difficulty with consultation in intercommunality is obviously to bring citizens into a field with which they are unfamiliar (competences, issues, territorial cohesion, long term...) and which seems to them, wrongly, far removed from their daily lives. However, what could be more concrete than the facilities, housing, social action, transport... managed today by the intermunicipalities?
Two issues are at stake:
- educating users about intercommunal competences, the direct impact on their daily lives (their commitment will only be better!) and the invariants (PLU, territorial coherence...),
- to get them out of the "citizen-consumer" attitude through a long-term commitment strategy, and a real collective culture.
"The world moves fast. Young people are finding it increasingly difficult to plan ahead. The inhabitants are more mobile.... Working on their metropolis' project for 2040 is not so interesting for them! "Stéphane Beaudet, President of the Greater Paris South agglomeration community, recently confided to us (https://get.flui.city/blog/participation-citoyenne-role-elu-stephane-beaudet/).
However, we know that effective and sustainable participation necessarily combines short and long timeframes. We have therefore created "consultation tools" that make it possible to articulate these temporalities and make users aware of the "global perimeter" in which they evolve.
Functionalities adapted to the intermunicipality to mobilize and raise awareness among citizens
1. Affiliated spaces: to reconcile the different scales of the territory
This exclusive Fluicity feature allows you to organize your participation platform into several spaces. You can thus mobilize citizens in their own community, on targeted consultations (survey, diagnosis, call for proposals...) and/or solicit them at any time on a larger scale (metropolis, agglomeration community...) on more structuring projects.
All this on a single platform (data, organization, registration ...).
[Find out more about what this feature can do for you (https://get.flui.city/blog/consultations-plus-ciblees-plus-impactantes-fonctionnalite-plateforme-fluicity/)
2. Mapping: to visualize the participation on the whole territory.
This feature breaks the boundaries of the municipality and allows you to locate the different consultations in the territory at a glance (location, themes, etc.). Citizens can quickly identify the consultations on their perimeter and/or geo-locate their own proposal. For communities, it is also an opportunity to identify the places where participation is most active in the intercommunality and to pilot their consultation projects accordingly.
The participative project :](https://get.flui.city/blog/nouvelle-fonctionnalite-projet-participatif/) to engage around a project over time
This evolving tool proposed by Fluicity allows you to organize several consultations around a territorial project: information and survey to start with, for example, then call for proposals and citizen vote to support the best proposals, follow-up of the realization, etc.
This format is ideal to engage citizens in a progressive and continuous way, and to consult them on specific elements of an intermunicipal project. Citizens are made aware of a macro project (climate plan, mobility...) via micro consultations (development of bicycle paths, housing renovation...).
The step-by-step process also provides proof that participation is taken into account, as the project progresses.
3. How can we prove that the consultation has had an impact?
The notion of "proof" is precisely the last difficulty for community representatives that we will discuss here.
There is a fine line between a consultation that generates confidence and one that generates frustration. It is often played out in the final stretch: providing proof that the citizen's word has indeed shaped/influenced the public decision. An indispensable notion to which Fluicity is particularly attentive.
Data Science to give meaning to the consultation
The first step is to give meaning to citizens' contributions. Our Data Science service offers analysis of consultation data so that it can provide concrete assistance for management and decision making. If this added value is clear to the organizers, it will be all the easier to explain to citizens!
Once the results are analyzed, we help you to restitute them in an educational way to the citizens: summary note, infographic, concrete actions resulting from it, etc. A strong point to prove the impact of their participation and give them confidence in the governance of the intermunicipality.
The most solid proof is then established over time, through the implementation of promised actions, regular communication on the progress of projects, new consultations, etc. In a few words, through a real continuous dialogue, which we facilitate on a daily basis via our digital platform (reminders, automatic mailings, project follow-up...) and our accompaniment (monthly reviews, advice...).
Our mission, if you accept it, is to work together to create a common culture, to organize citizens' voices, and to build the dykes of concertation at the heart of intercommunality.