The Hague is the city of peace, security, and justice, the centre of the Dutch democratic system. In the centre of our representative system, it should be a given that people feel listened to and that their voice counts. That they live in a democratic system where they are also able to shape society.
Therefore it is very important that citizens feel that they are included in the decision-making process and that they are empowered to take responsibility in their neighbourhood, community, and city. De municipality of the Hague has to make sure that this is also possible.
There is a large number of citizens that are disappointed in the current measure of citizen-participation. This can be seen in the actual political norm. The abolishment of the referendum is a clear example of this disdain. In 2017 only 21% of young people felt connected to the local, municipal politics, while local politics tends to be the closest to the citizen. As students and young people, we believe that this number should be higher.
Digitalization is becoming more and more a fact. Nevertheless, The Hague is running behind in this area. The Dutch Smartphone Users report of Telecomppaper shows that 86% of the Dutch population use smartphones. Therefore we want to make more use of this in order to involve citizens therein.
- BSA wants to create an application where people can vote on specific municipal proposals that have an impact on their neighborhood. The decisions that have been made there will count heavily in the creation of proposals and the execution of policies. The outcome of the public vote will also decide our vote in the city council regarding neighborhood-related decisions.
- This app will also function as a consultation-resource for city-wide decisions.
- The council members will also be able to give a specific voting-advice and their motivation about their voting decision.
- In the app, there is also a possibility for citizens and citizen groups to hand in proposals. Citizen and community groups will also be able to put important points on the table by getting enough votes. BSA will also introduce motions and ask questions based on these choices.
Development and involvement
The app will be developed by making use of the Ministry of Internal Affairs project on E-participation and by making use of the EU-Dcent project, using examples from Iceland and Estonia, the Digi-D and city-panel developments and also through Blockchain technology. This can be done using local initiatives, NGO’s and start-ups at the Hague Humanity Hub, The Hague Security Delta and with the help of experts from the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
BSA believes that decision-making is something that is done together with the citizen and not for just for the citizen. That is why we are striving to introduce E-participation and E-democracy next to the already existing methods of participation like public-participation evenings and consultations so that everyone can be heard.
BSA works together with the citizen, we listen and co-create with all “Hagenaren”.