Participatory democracy was punctuated in October by a series of interventions by the OSP team in France and Spain! Between Madrid, Barcelona, Marseille, Poitiers and Paris, there were many destinations and many opportunities to present our experience with the Decidim software.
Virgile Deville at the conference of the Association of Mayors of Île-de-France in Paris
Several public actors have expressed their desire to orient public purchasing towards a permanent search for economic but also social efficiency. Used today by more than 150 institutions, the DECIDIM open source software is part of a sustainable logic of public investment. Each investment aimed at improving this common good allows a large international community to serenely explore democratic and social innovation. Investing in open source software allows public actors not to be in a situation of dependence on their provider.
Eloïse Gabadou at the Europeanlab in Madrid
Eloïse represented Decidim and OSP at theEuropeanlab in Madrid on 18 and 19 October 2019. Every year, this think tank brings together 250 European actors to shed light on, support and accompany the initiatives that will shape tomorrow's culture. On the programme for these two days of reflection and meetings: debates, meetings, a living library, music, a radio set, workshops for children, etc. Eloïse presented Decidim and Open Source Politics at a round table on digital citizenship, the smart city and digital municipalities.
Valentin Chaput in Marseille for the "Faire ensemble" event of Numérique En Commun(s)
On 18 October 2019, OSP went to Marseille for the "Faire Ensemble" event. This national meeting organised by Numérique en commun[s] brings together for two days the stakeholders in the construction of the digital society.
In parallel to the digital inclusion issues widely debated in the framework of Numérique en Commun(s), Valentin Chaput presented the European dimension of the Decidim project during an exchange with Louise Guillot from the 27th Region about the commons. How does creating a society around the commons ensure the sustainability and development of resources in the general interest? This question led to a fascinating debate at the Mars Medialab.
Antoine Gaboriau at the 2019 digital citizenship meeting in Poitiers
Antoine Gaboriau spoke on 7 October about open source digital tools during the event "Rencontres, citoyenneté numérique" organised in partnership with the Conseil de développement de Grand Poitiers. He was accompanied by
Together they discussed the topic of civic tech, and the initiatives carried out by civil society through digital technology. In turn, they listed existing methods for citizens to get involved in institutions and public policy making.
He will talk about Open Source Politics' experience in setting up participatory budgets using Decidim. Open Source Politics has now installed about twenty participatory budgets for local authorities, which allows us to draw lessons, which Virgil will detail during his speech.
Virgil will be joined at his round table by :
Alberto Labarga (Public University of Navarra, Open Knowledge Foundation)
This conference was an opportunity for OSP to present the role of digital platforms such as Decidim in the framework of citizens' consultations and to share our experience in the implementation of these platforms within local authorities.
The Decidim open source software adapts to the needs of these institutions and offers a complete and transparent information systemfor digital democracy, allowing to model any participatory process.
Apart from the excellent formula of Mathieu Monot, Deputy Mayor of Pantin, referent of the AMIF's citizen participation commission, on the evolution of the role of the mayor:
We have successively admired the managerial and builder mayors, now I am convinced that it is the turn of the concerted mayors!
we retain 3 points from this experience:
Digital commons to power public consultations, a matter of course
Why? The digital commons is a vehicle for values such as transparency and integrity of data, protection of personal data, equality of participants and accountability. The model proposed by Decidim, combining an open license (AGPLv3) and a social contract, provides the democratic guarantees necessary for any digital democracy approach .
To go further on this subject, we recommend the article by @calimaq (Lionel Maurel) which discusses the concept of mission-oriented Free Software using Decidim as an example.
Digital/classroom hybridisation is essential
Digital tools are not magic and active participation is a gradual learning process. Guarantees of transparency are needed to give citizens confidence and these can only be delivered through human interaction. It is therefore necessary to ensure ahybridisation of digital and face-to-face participation spaces.
OSP's work with institutions is now pushing for a critical and strategic use of digital tools for political, collective and sovereign action.
A platform for municipalities is above all a platform and configurable platform.
Participatory approaches in municipalities should consider the different levels of engagement (see diagram below). In order to do this, the tool in question must be able to model any type of participatory process. Decidim is particularly effective in meeting this challenge with its modular and highly configurable architecture. It is a real Lego of participation where institutions define the architecture of their customised participation spaces by activating and configuring participatory functionalities.
The techno-political challenges that civic tech has yet to address
We concluded our intervention by reminding that digital participation is still in its infancy. Platforms like Decidim raise exciting questions:
Shipyards Decidim and OSP
Processing of massive data sets and synthesis of queries
Since 2017 we have been investigating the application of automatic language processing to text and data corpora from consultations. See our articles on this subject on Medium part I and II.
Digital inclusion and accessibility
Open Source Politics is a member of Mednum, the digital inclusion cooperative
- OSP is developing a France Connect connector for Decidim which will be available this autumn 2019. - Decidim allows to set up identity verification systems contextual to the action performed by the user (voting on a participatory budget).
Decidim is one of the only platforms to offer a raffle module.
Decentralization and data security
Decidim already offers a number of guarantees for the data that the platform generates (API, cryptographic fingerprinting of proposals etc.). Within the framework of the European Decode project, Decidim has been able to experiment with blockchain technology to carry out electronic signatures.
So many challenges that we can take up collectively thanks to the open model of collaboration proposed by Decidim, which already brings together a multitude of complementary actors (academics, developers, sociologists, political scientists, designers, etc.). A working framework that allows us to take up these challenges as a network by pooling efforts, investments and learning.
We would like to thank the AMIF for organising the conference and for inviting us to the round table.