Cities around Europe will be using an open source citizen participation platform that was developed by the Madrid city council. The platform, called Consul, is currently used in Spain by over 40 villages, towns and cities. Consul is also used in Paris and Aude in France, Turin in Italy, and Tirana in Albania. Madrid has also reached out to towns and cities in Bulgaria, Italy, Germany, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and Poland in order to see if they want to use it and decide how it could be deployed.
Enrique Muguerza Judez, head of the unit in Madrid that is responsible for citizen participation projects, said:
“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.”
According to Judez, Consul has been introduced to developers working for councils in Burgas (Bulgaria), Düsseldorf (Germany), Gdynia (Poland), Valletta (Malta) 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 that will take place in Madrid on 22-24 November.
Consul is available via GitHub meaning anyone reading this can grab the software and use it for any purpose as long as it follows the rules set out in the Affero GPL. If you 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.