Digital consultations were used to gain insights into the key priorities for citizens, businesses & communities in relation to the digital development agenda.
The Department of Rural and Community Development directed all Councils to develop and implement a local Digital Strategy to ensure citizens, businesses and communities maximise the benefits of highspeed broadband. Longford County Council used digital tools such as Mentimeter and Survey123 for ArcGIS to consult with its citizens in the development of this Strategy and overcome challenges of inclusion, participation and engagement i.e due to a lack of digital infrastructure. Initially the Council consulted with citizens using Survey123 for ArcGIS then Mentimeter was used with stakeholders at digital engagement workshops. Stakeholders used their smartphones to complete Mentimeter surveys/polls,sharing their opinions & questions while also spatially identifying areas in need of services via ArcGIS. As surveys/ polls could be completed anonymously participation and engagement at these events was high. The GP achieves its objectives by engaging with citizens using digital measures so that data collection and analysis are carried out efficiently and effectively, providing useful insights in real-time and helping policymakers to identify trends and prioritise issues. This practice is implemented by bringing stakeholders together at digital consultation engagement workshops and using the poll/survey results to set the scene for the remainder of the workshop, creating further dialogue between stakeholders. The main beneficiaries are citizens, non-profit organisations and businesses.

Resources needed

-Mentimeter Basic Package is free & Pro €21/month.
-The Council already had ArcGIS. Surveys were designed by 1 person in 1 day and shared with other Councils who could modify the surveys (estimate 1 hour) with their own name, branding etc
-ArcGIS Online Level 2 annual subscription €540


Evidence of success

In Ireland governmental bodies generally carry out public consultations before finalising new policies. This GP ensured high participation and proved to be a more efficient tool to conduct public consultations by allowing policymakers to gain insights/data in real-time. It also eliminated the process of transcribing or carrying out thematic analyses to produce results.
Consulted with 142 stakeholders via Survey123 ArcGIS & 97 via Mentimeter at digital consultation workshops.

Difficulties encountered

Longford County Council wanted to ensure that their public consultations captured a wide spectrum of relevant stakeholder viewpoints when developing their Local Digital Strategy. Using digital tools to preserve the anonymity of stakeholders worked well to ensure everybody participated.

Potential for learning or transfer

This GP is readily transferable; Mentimeter and Survey123 for ArcGIS are simple and easy to use. The data captured is immediately available for analysis which can help policymakers make better decisions. This GP is easy to implement and requires minimum technical expertise. It is an efficient way to carry out consultations with stakeholders, effective because of the anonymity the tool provides and data gathering in real-time. This practice could be potentially interesting to other regions, as surveys developed can also be shared with other local authorities, informing and streamlining the consultation processes within a larger region/ area. For example, County Longford developed a Digital Strategy Consumer Questionnaire and shared this questionnaire with other County Councils as a result of this Project.
Project
Main institution
Longford County Council
Location
Border, Midland and Western, Ireland (Éire)
Start Date
August 2019
End Date
February 2020

Contact

Brid  Greenan Please login to contact the author.