As I research best practice in digital services and citizen engagement, I come across some excellent examples of governments who are finding new and innovative ways to get public input. One example is GovTogetherBC, a new website that brings together all of British Columbia’s public engagement opportunities in one place.
Users can quickly find ongoing dialogues searching by keyword, topic, location or engagement tool. GovTogetherBC makes it easy for people to find what they’re interested in and share their knowledge, ideas, and opinions.
Former U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer Beth Simone Noveck had this to say about the site:
We address the challenges we face when we work together. By cataloging a diverse range of ways for non-professionals to work, whether as park warden or policy-maker, GovTogetherBC will make it possible for governments and citizens to collaborate and innovate to get things done. Every government should follow this lead.
GovTogether BC also connects people to ways they can be of service; like volunteering or becoming a mentor. This makes it easy for citizens to make a contribution in their communities.
The site can also be managed to give you personalized information. If you are only interested in certain projects, topics, or areas you can subscribe to specific RSS feeds or receive notifications via email. Through the online survey option you can have your say on the future direction of engagement projects.
Here in the U.S., we continue to look for new and better ways to engage citizens to improve government. To read about what’s being done and find good examples, I encourage you to check out these resources:
- Part 1: Engage the Public to Solve Problems
- Part 2: Public Engagement is an Ongoing Process
- Using In-depth Discussion Tools to Engage Citizens, on-demand training from DigitalGov University.
Tell us: Have you tried something similar to GovTogetherBC? Have public dialogues helped improve how your agency operates and develops policy?