Summary of completed and ongoing projects.
Tests of the "In Dialogue" IT platform were conducted in Olsztyn, Nowa Dęba and Warsaw, Poland.
In Olsztyn, the platform was used to conduct pre-consultations of information materials in preparation of the “Pedestrian in the city” [“Pieszy w Mieście”] public consultations.
In Nowa Dęba, the platform supported the process of consulting a permanent closure of Żeromskiego street.
The function of the platform in Warsaw was to conduct consultations with high school students from five schools who discussed their local urban environment.
In Olsztyn, the participants of the project included the staff of the Communications and Civic Dialogue office (part of the City Hall), and twelve recruited social Ambassadors (among whom were the Presidents of Housing Estate Councils, representatives of NGOs, local public institutions and councils).
In Nowa Dęba, the City Hall was the local coordinator of the project, and Social Ambassadors included representatives of local organisations (incl. those working with people with disabilities).
In both cities, all members of the “In Dialogue” project team were engaged on various levels: Warsaw University of Technology team updated and customized the platform and offered technical support online and during workshops; Joanna Wojtyńska from PFON [Polish Disability Forum] helped in recruiting representatives of local NGOs, participated in workshops, and consulted the platform adjustments for users with disabilities. The University of Warsaw team monitored the consultation process, recruited social Ambassadors, and helped to prepare information materials and final reports. Other team members consulted user instructions and platform functionalities.
In Warsaw, five local high schools were engaged in the project: five teachers helped recruit students, among whom 71 registered on the platform and 60 participated in an offline debate.
In Olsztyn, the project had two main phases: preparation phase and execution phase. In the former, the Project team together with the City Hall discussed the subject and theme of consultations, established preliminary timeframes, and conducted three workshops for the City Hall members and social Ambassadors. The “In Dialogue” team recruited the majority of Ambassadors, and helped prepare the information materials to be discussed by the citizens. Monitoring of the preparation phase was conducted with the aid of other team members. Contacts with the press were also established in order to disseminate information on the consultations. The execution phase started on the 19th of April and included uploading the information materials, monitoring registration on the platform and answering potential queries. Overall, 11 comments were collected from the citizens. After two weeks, once the comments were closed, they were collected by the City Hall representatives in order to update the information materials. Once the materials have been updated and uploaded, online debate was opened: the citizens could voice their opinions and answer the questions between 25th of June and the 3rd of July. On 28th and 29th of June, two meetings were held at the City Hall, and there was a voice debate held online on the 27th of June as well. After collecting the materials from all debates, partial reports, followed by the final report, have been drafted and uploaded to the platform.
Map of arguments from the online debate in Olsztyn
In Nowa Dęba, the consultations had three phases: preparation, execution and evaluation. In the first phase, the project team and the representatives of the Town Hall participated in two workshops, recruited social Ambassadors, and helped disseminate information about the consultations in local media and on posters, as well as to prepare information materials. During the next phase, citizens could get acquainted with the materials, took part in online discussion (30 participants), and could sign up for an offline debate (10 participants). Klementyna Świeżewska established an info point where the citizens could sign up for the debate and receive information on the platform. The evaluation phase included conducting an evaluation questionnaire (12 participants) and drafting of the final report.
Map of arguments from the online debate in Nowa Dęba
The Warsaw project had a slightly different structure and included recruitment and preparation of materials, which was followed by an offline debate and an educational game on the premises of the Warsaw University. The concluding meeting was held on the 16th of May and gathered 60 participants. The “In Dialogue” team drafted the final report and invited the schools to participate in future editions of the project. Further editions of the project are planned.
Participants of the project in Warsaw
The “In Dialogue” platform was built as a result of a methodological and conceptual discussion on public consultations in Poland and the need to change the way the latter are conducted. In Olsztyn and Nowa Dęba it was used as a tool aiding the City Halls in planning and conducting the consultations, i.e. regarding them as a process. In all cities, the platform was used to register participants and inform them about the purpose of the debate (via information materials).
In Olsztyn, the platform enabled the citizens to read and comment on the information materials, take part in online debates, and read or download the final report, while in Nowa Dęba it also helped users to discuss the street closure online, and to register for an offline debate. In Nowa Dęba, the software was also used to conduct an evaluation of the project.
In the case of Warsaw, the “In Dialogue” platform helped the students to register for the offline debate, and allowed them to get informed about themes and aims of the project.