More cities around Europe will be adopting an open source citizen participation platform that was developed by the Madrid city council. The platform, called Consul, is currently used by over 40 villages, towns and cities in Spain, according to the European Commission's Open Source Observatory. The software is also used outside of Spain in countries such as France, Italy, and Albania, with plans to expand still further.
Enrique Muguerza Judez, head of the unit in Madrid that is responsible for citizen participation projects, told the European Commission's Open Source Observatory:
“Public services contact us, and the collaboration usually starts with a video conference where we explain Consul and recommend that they find a developer who knows Ruby on Rails. Later, our developers can answer technical questions via chat. So, we don’t do installations, but we help remove doubts.”
Consul has been introduced to developers working for councils in Düsseldorf (Germany), Gdynia (Poland) and other towns and cities. One of the upcoming demonstrations will be in Tampere (Finland) at the MindTrek conference in October. This will be followed by the ConsulCon18 conference taking place in Madrid on 22-24 November where other interested parties will be able to get some insight into the project.
Consul is available for download via GitHub, but if you just want to get a taste for the software, you can check out Más Democracia en Europa (More Democracy in Europe), a citizen participation project involving Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Council on Foreign Relations. If you want to see the full list of features that the software offers, check out the project's features webpage.