The results of the 2020 municipal elections have dramatically changed the political landscape in major French cities. On the one hand, the election campaign was marked by the health crisis and the entry into force of confinement in the in-between period. On the other hand, voters also observed the multiplication of platforms for citizen participation. Many lists relied on these platforms to collect citizen contributions. Citizens thus had the opportunity to contribute online to the construction of several political programs.
How have these platforms contributed to the victory of certain lists? Here are some elements of answer:
Lyon, victory of a citizen and environmentalist list in the 2020 municipal elections:
The local group of Europe Ecologie-Les Verts wanted to include the people of Lyon in the construction phase of the programme. To this end, Europe Ecologie-Les Verts called upon Open Source Politics to launch the Changer Lyon platform. This platform enabled the local group of Europe Ecologie-Les Verts to develop a participative programme. In addition, the activists organised numerous thematic workshops thanks to Decidim's "Assembly" function. Following these workshops, a consultation synthesized 5 flagship proposals of the programme. The people of Lyon were able to consult these proposals from the Changez Lyon platform.
This programme, co-constructed with the people of Lyon, is the one that won the second round of municipal elections by 52%.
As part of the call launched by Grenoble en Commun to build a solidary and ecological citizen project for the future of Grenoble and its metropolis, several meetings and workshops have been organized with citizens. The platform was used to feed these debates and meetings. Inhabitants submitted more than 200 proposals and supported or commented on them. Its proposals formed the basis of the programme presented to Grenoble residents for the 2020 municipal elections.
The programme received the support of 53% of the votes cast in the second round of the 2020 municipal elections.
The Action commune collective called on Open Source Politics to launch the Annecy Citizens' Factory platform, whose project was to support the emergence of citizens' lists for the 2020 municipal elections.
The Common Action approach was open and non-partisan. The Réveillons Annecy list brought together 60 citizens and elected representatives from different backgrounds, whose priority was the urgent need to tackle the climate, social and democratic issues. The working groups made up of citizens and elected representatives identified 10 themes for the future political project. These themes were presented on the participative platform Réveillons Annecy. The people of Annecy had the opportunity to react and share their ideas on the platform.
This approach has enabled the Annecy New Year's Eve list to achieve a score of 44% at the 2020 municipal elections.
Le Printemps Marseillais is a movement formed following a call for the union of left-wing and environmentalist forces. Open Source Politics has been mandated to put in place the platform participative Printemps Marseillais. The platform aimed to include civil society and allow a wide audience to contribute to the development of the programme. However, the organisers were aware of the digital divide. This is why participatory workshops with local residents were organised in order to feed the platform with the opinions of remote audiences.
Thanks to this programme, Printemps Marseillais came out on top in the first round of the 2020 municipal elections. During the period between the two rounds and the lock-in, a reflection was launched on the platform to adapt the programme to the new challenges. As a result, Le Printemps Marseillais relied heavily on the La Parole platform to solicit voters' opinions. The platform thus allowed Marseillais to continue to propose their ideas for the city during the lockdown.
In the second round, Printemps Marseillais won the elections with 40% of the votes.
While the electoral campaign period encourages political movements to set up a participatory platform, one may wonder about its usefulness afterwards. However, Decidim is much more than a simple tool for the co-construction of a political programme. There are indeed many use cases and functionalities that are particularly useful for engaging citizens in politics. For example, the Printemps Marseillais list has committed to maintaining the La Parole est à vous platform in order to involve citizens in the management and governance of the city of Marseille. The elected representatives have declared that they want to use the platform as a tool for transparency and monitoring of campaign commitments.
The future of the Annecy, Grenoble and Lyon platforms has not yet been clearly defined by the newly elected officials. However, the support provided by Open Source Politics allows these platforms to evolve towards new uses. For example, Decidim can be used to set up a participatory budget or a suggestion box. Elected officials will thus be able to maintain citizen participation and involve them more and more in local decisions.
Renewed mandates thanks to participatory tools?
Several municipal candidate lists had already called on Open Source Politics to include citizens in public policy choices using Decidim.
Most of the elected officials that Open Source Politics has supported in participatory projects have been reappointed by voters. Voters therefore seem to have more confidence when the programme is open.
Could this be proof that involving citizens in decision-making is a driver of trust? To be continued...
In conclusion, you can discover the platforms that we have been supporting for several years now, and which have been able to experiment with various forms of consultation:
In this article, discover the keys to a very well improvised organisation, and the birth of a new digital solidarity.
Big-up to all our collaborative tools
Anticipating the confinement of a few days, we decided on a "remote first" internal reorganisation for the duration of the epidemic.
It is true that we are all, more or less, used to teleworking. And it must be said that we have the best tools to work remotely:
Notion: the knowledge base for organising the work of teams. This is where we have created a "COVID-19 Remote Policy" space to share telework rules and good practices, as well as doses of positive vibes.
A collaborative Covid-19XOSP playlist where we share all our favourite music to keep our spirits up from a distance.
A shared folder -whose name will be withheld- where everyone goes to find the resources he/she needs.
Github Github: our technical team is already used to working on the codes of our platforms on this famous collaborative tool for developers.
Rocket Chat: an open source alternative to Slack for our daily chats. This is where we have opened a thread dedicated to containment where we share our feelings, our emotions and where we talk about the back of Covid-19... It must be said that two and a half people of the team have symptoms that make us think they have caught the virus (the half portion is Eloise who suddenly lost the taste... by the way, if someone finds it again, please mp us).
It is also on Rocket Chat that, each day, the members of the different teams announce the tasks they are going to carry out for the day, but also their blocking points and their needs (help, advice...):
Since we're all at home, we're sharing as much as possible of what we're doing with the other team members - and not just to let everyone know that we're actually working and not in the middle of a Sims game. Being physically separated means that we have to share our progress and difficulties more. This, in turn, gives us more visibility on the role and missions of each team member... and that makes for some great discussion channels to bring up!
Jitsi Jitsi: we thank from the bottom of our hearts this videoconferencing platformwhich has opened more servers in France since the confinement, and which thus saves our organisation. We were already used to using Jitsi for remote meetings and training, but since the quarantine it has become the central space of our internal organisation.
Every Monday we take the temperature of the company through the news of each of its members and discuss the big issues of the week. Sometimes we have breakfast together (for ASMR lovers this is really good).
We also use Jitsi to conduct individual interviews to make sure that everyone is experiencing the situation personally and professionally.
All week long, Jitsi accompanies us, and allows us to follow the Webinar trend... and we love it! Our different teams have already organised five of them!
The idea is to introduce the rest of the staff to the tools we use, to give organisational tips, and to share our skills with others. We are already seeing a good pedagogical trend: during the webinars, we do not assume that others know. This allows us to consolidate some of the basics, or even to build on them for those who have just arrived at OSP. These webinars allow us all to develop valuable soft skills and to better understand the details of each other's work.
"Working at home means fewer distractions", says Eloise, "but I miss your heads". It's true that we all feel a bit strange to go from a full open space (with a big thought for the Liberté Living-Lab team) to an empty living room/bedroom/kitchen. So we do our best to make sure that nobody feels too lonely.
Finally, we use Jitsi with our clients for scoping meetings, training, or to review ongoing platforms, as business has not slowed down for OSP!
Democracy continues... and digital solidarity is built.
In the circumstances we are experiencing, participation platforms are ideal for continuing to animate communities and/or organise themselves remotely. In the space of ten days, six organisations have already approached us either to open internal collaborative organisational spaces or to set up mutual aid networks in a given territory.
By adapting the functionalities at the margin, our platforms allow the sharing of information, the emergence of new solutions and remote communication to be well organised. Several of these projects dedicated to the time of containment are implemented by our consulting teams.
Moreover, associations whose organisation is disrupted can use Decidim free of charge thanks to the Agorasso project set up by the Code for France association, which we support. Decidim can enable all structures to invent new ways of working, adapted to social distancing.
In addition to a digital democracy that continues to function, we can see that a new solidarity is being put in place just about everywhere. For example, the enpremiereligne.fr and solidarite-numerique. fr platforms provide a mutual aid system designed to relieve those who cannot stop working or stay at home, on the one hand, and to share resources in order to make it easier for as many people as possible to take action, on the other. Two other useful civic-tech examples in the face of Covid-19.
As you will have understood, our activity continues at a distance, thanks to the best collaboration tools available. So we can continue to support our digital participation platforms based on open source and resilient software, which are finding a new use at this particular time. Take care of yourself and others by staying at home. This does not prevent you from participating!
For several months, OSP and the Senate teams have been working hand in hand to launch a new service: the official petitions.senat.frplatform
This platform allows citizens to submit petitions and/or sign them online, in a secure way thanks to an advanced FranceConnect integration. This democratic innovation uses the free and open source Decidim technology, and in particular the "Initiatives" module, which allows citizens the right of interpellation.
Used by the Barcelona City Council for several years, this is the first time it has been deployed in France, and also for the first time in a European Union Parliament.
A major democratic innovation for our institutions
Decidim's Petitions module is deployed for the first time on a national scale, making the Senate the first Parliament of the European Union to contribute to the development of this digital common good.
This system is reminiscent of the petition.parliament. uk platform that was successfully set up by the British Parliament: the collection of several million signatures made it possible to bring 73 citizens' petitions before parliamentarians in the UK.
These two initiatives demonstrate the growing willingness of parliamentary institutions to open up to citizens by offering them the ability to put issues on the legislative agenda.
After the mixed results of the Grand Débat, it is interesting to see that national consultation exercises that were previously purely consultative are now gradually giving way to methods that leave more room for manoeuvre for citizens - we are thinking, for example, of the Citizens' Climate Convention and its participatory platform Decidim, also set up by OSP.
These are important new advances for civic tech in terms of impact and we are delighted that they are being made on Decidim. Each time, the choice of this free software was made taking into account the ethical rules that govern it and its exemplary nature in terms of personal data protection. The CNIL recently highlighted the qualities of the software in its Cahier Innovation et Prospective sur les Civic Tech(see our article here).
Indeed, free and open source are the best guarantees of transparency for a digital platform. The source code is accessible and makes it possible to know all the internal workings of the platform. These same properties allow the software to be taken over, installed and modified by other institutions or communities. Thus, the investment that the Senate has made in the software will benefit all other organisations that want to use Decidim, whether at the parliamentary or local level. For example, the City of Barcelona has developed this module to allow citizens to enter the City Council and place items on its agenda.
An important technical innovation
Open Source Politics, in collaboration with FranceConnect and the Senate, was therefore able to take the existing software and adapt it to this new context.
The challenges posed by the Senate petition platform were significant:
ensure that the depositors and signatories are natural persons of full age and registered in the INSEE national identification register;
guarantee the anonymity of the signatories;
Ensure that each person signs only one signature per petition.
To do this, we used a brand new feature of FranceConnect that allows us to meet all these constraints. FranceConnect is an identification and authentication system for individuals proposed by the State to secure access to online public services, via the identifiers of the tax authorities or health insurance, for example.
Petitions.senat.fr is thus the first site to use France Connect authentication anonymously! On each petition, by clicking on the "Sign" button, the user creates an anonymous account via FranceConnect. The only information retrieved is the identification key, a unique and anonymous identification key provided by FranceConnect. No other data is retrieved after signing a petition.
Secondly, the Senate needed to devise its rules for handling petitions. In this respect, a petition can be
Before being examined by the Conference of Presidents, proposals must pass two admissibility checks:
A first technical admissibility check before publication (French language, non-discriminatory fonts, etc);
A substantive review for petitions that reach a minimum of 100,000 signatures within a 6-month period.
During all these successive stages, the platform allows the evolution of petitions to be followed by all Internet users. Decidim makes it possible to document all the steps and makes the process understandable and accessible for both the petitioners and the signatories.
Open Source Politics (OSP) was commissioned by the Governance Committee of the Citizens' Climate Convention to set up an online citizen participation platform and to produce three successive summaries so that Convention members would have a digestible and accessible summary of the platform's activity between their working sessions.
The second phase of online contributions to the Citizens' Climate Convention ended on 5 January. On 6 January, our team started working on a second synthesis to highlight the ideas of the French people to fight against global warming.
The writing of the synthesis by our analysts
Based on the full export tables, which are freely available on the platform, our team uses an analysis methodology to highlight the main ideas of the contributions. We looked at all the online proposals from citizens in the second phase of contributions.
In total, for this second phase, 1286 contributions were registered on the platform (a higher number than for the first participation phase). This shows that the French are more committed to the Citizens' Convention, and therefore to climate issues.
Even though cross-cutting contributions were by far the most numerous (28%), citizens tended to focus on the themes of "travel" (24% of contributions) and "consumption" (19.5%). This was also the case in the first contribution phase.
Beyond the climate and social justice issues that were the objectives of the Citizens' Convention, our analysts found that citizens did not hesitate to contribute on broader issues, such as sharing, resource distribution and equality.
On the organisations' side:
In total, more than 100 contributions were received from organisations representing structures involved in economic, social and/or environmental issues.
What do the citizens of the Citizens' Climate Convention think?
The synthesis was handed over on the Friday of the 4th session of the Convention to the 150 randomly selected citizens. They said that these summaries are very valuable because they give them an outside view and new ideas. With this second synthesis, they realise that they are supported and that they are not the only ones to give their time and effort. The online contributions complement the work done in the assembly with their richness and detail. Marine, a citizen of the convention, tells us that she used it with her working group.
"At this stage, the richness of the contributions is important because it helps us to go further and dig deeper into the issues, so that we can make the most comprehensive and in-depth proposals. The contributions of the organisations are interesting because they bring useful expertise and figures. And I think it is always important to have a diversity of opinions in our work. »
On 9 December, the CNIL published its 7th Innovation and Prospective notebook: "Civic Tech, data and Demos" (download???? here ). In this notebook, the CNIL gives recommendations to Civic Tech actors to guarantee an environment of trust and reinforce good practices in citizen participation ???? We have identified six points that we feel are important, and which give Decidim a good place in the Civic Tech field ????????
1) Open code ensuring transparency
The CNIL confirms that the opening of the code of a participation platform and its data is a guarantee aimed at allowing the audibility of algorithmic processing, which is essential for RGPD issues. Codes, whether open or closed, are supposed to be accessible in case of hearing, as soon as data is collected. With Decidim, participation data is fully readable and accessible. Decidim and its open code guarantee this transparency ????.
2) Privacy in a RGPD context
The CNIL invites us to think of tools that respect privacy from their conception, with clear information on users' rights. The CNIL insists on the importance of building an environment of trust for users. Since its conception, and through the collective drafting of its social contract(translated into French here ) Decidim claims this technopolitical approach. The software has been designed with respect for users and their rights above all.
Moreover, the CNIL recommends that the players join forces to harmonise practices and move towards the co-construction of a code of conduct. ???? This is what the Metadecidim community is defending, as it works to continually improve the software and its social contract. The contributors to this community (of which OSP is one of the most active) organise themselves through democratic governance to take decisions about the software. Metadecidim is dedicated to the exchange of good practices and ensures a democratic self-monitoring of the software.
4) Progressive and adapted participatory processes
In addition, the CNIL recommends developing a civic technological education because "Civic Tech must not make democracy a matter for experts, on whom the control and understanding of the technologies deployed would depend" ????????(page 39 of the IP booklet) At OSP, we have always maintained that participation is not innate and must be the subject of progressive learning. Therefore, participatory processes need to adapt to the experience and participatory liabilities of users.
In order to include as many people as possible in participation processes, the CNIL, like OSP, recommends combining face-to-face and digital participation ????. Both types of participation are both necessary and not sufficient. One cannot exist without the other. Civic Tech exists to accompany broad and ambitious participatory processes. Digital participation is not sufficient on its own, at the risk of being unrepresentative and not very inclusive.
Decidim makes it possible to organise, render and bring together these two types of participation. For example, the "Meetings" functionality makes it possible to map public meetings and also to render the richness of their exchange. It is possible to link a proposal to a meeting, to publish a report, to put photos online, thanks to all these documentation possibilities, a continuity is created between the face-to-face and digital collective intelligence exercises
6) Combating forms of addiction
Civic Tech is a participatory device that changes the dynamics of the relationship between the governors and the governed.
The CNIL warns public actors against the risk of dependence on proprietary tools for which they do not control the rules of processing, moderation or display.
That is why we promote the use of open source software in public projects, engaging in sustainable collaboration with institutions.
Open source software, whose source codes are freely available, gives institutions greater control over their projects. This is due to the fact that they have a better visibility of how the tool works, but also because they have the possibility to develop the tool according to their needs. At any time they can install the software on their own infrastructure and internalise the associated skills.
Moreover, by choosing to use open source software for their projects, institutions are contributing public money to a digital commons, which is freely reusable by other institutions.
At an event organised by the CNIL in partnership with theCESE (Conseil Economique Social et Environnemental) on Civic Tech, Valentin Chaput, our founder, added that " in terms of democracy, there should not be a monopoly player ". Defending the model of the commons, in which the State must play a role of impetus, Valentin evoked the example of the City Council of Barcelona, at the origin of the free software Decidim.
Decidim, as aCivic Tech, complies with every recommendation and good practice listed by theCNILin its 7th Innovation and Prospective booklet. Decidim has been thought of as a social contract, respecting the rights of people and users.
Open Source Politics is pleased to see that although the CNIL does not take sides between open source and proprietary software, it lists the advantages of the former and insists on the exemplary nature of software like Decidim.
If the CNIL has reached Decidim, it is also because Open Source Politics has contributed to its deployment on French territory. This was made possible by the open source nature of Decidim.