We are proposing an experiment which would result in:
1) New public sector governance models,
2) New capability transfer to staff in public sector,
3) Allocation of part of public sector budget to citizen proposed projects and
4) Involve the citizens in implementing those relevant projects to create value for them in their local municipality.
With the explosion of new technologies, in some countries, public sector has started to engage with citizens in discussion of priorities, ideas and crowd-sourcing on problems.
But this is where the progress stops. Social media has not induced a change in the way that the public sector is governed – It is still Public sector as usual, with an inward-looking culture and operational model, focusing on short terms budget spending and projects that citizens have little influence on.
We are looking for new public sector governance models which not only allow for new ways for budget allocation in public sector, but simultaneously create new capabilities ‘for free’ for public sector staff and motivates citizens to get involved in the mutual drive towards projects that are relevant and creates value for citizens.
We are proposing an experiment which contains several parts:
- A percentage of the public sector budget (e.g. a budget in a municipality) is allocated to citizen proposed and prioritized projects (ideas can be anything from setting up more bi-cycle racks or more trash cans, to use of new energy sources to produce electricity in public buildings etc.)
- Citizen proposed projects are commented and voted using social media tools -> the ones with most votes are prioritized (proposing the project implies taking co-responsibility for the implementation of the project - see point 3.)
- Project is treated by public sector equally to other projects (civil servants are required to allocate time to those projects) and run jointly with the citizen champion (idea creator) and possibly with a team of volunteers.
- Transfers of new capabilities to the Public sector staff and vice versa happens during the project-> public sector staff and the person proposing the project (citizen champion) will collaborate on the delivery of the idea. This implies change of performance criteria for public sector staff e.g. collaborative skills, engagement of the citizen’s in project. Reward processes will also need an alignment with these new performance criteria.
- Projects are measured upon their success or failure – which is their impact in the local area. A new set of measurements of the impact will define success or failure of the project and related paid-out bonuses. Some pre-established goals serve as a reference in terms of expected achievement however the impact of project might reveal equally impactful unexpected collateral effects which should be counted into the bonus calculation.
- We would start the experiment with smaller projects: example 1 ): Setting up more bicycle racks in a municipality - the success of that project might include measures like: More people seen bicycling, lower Co2 and pollution, citizens changing attitude towards health and sport. Measures of failure could be: empty bicycle racks, no improvement in lungs capacity etc. Or example 2) Healthy eating delivery at school to enhance children’s and parents eating habits. When parents pick up their children from school, they can also pick up healthy and fresh veggies and fruits which they have ordered online. Success criteria: number of parents signing up to school deliveries, number of sick days of children going down, comparisons to other schools not having such program.
- Impact bonuses would be paid out to both the public civil servant involved and the private citizen upon success. (Citizens to vote upon the impact criteria proposed at the idea stage and bonuses after the project is implemented)
- The impact bonuses could be combined with a Social Impact Bonus scheme, which has already been developed in the UK for public private partnership (private contractors carrying out a project will only be paid a bonus if the work has been a success).
The idea is not to be mistaken for Social Entrepreneur or Association led projects that have been outsourced to by public sector to another body to carry out. The difference lies in the fact that it not just another body determining how to spend and who should be rewarded, but is a model in which citizens commit, makes democracy alive and potentially forces new collaborative models and capabilities onto municipalities and public sector.
NB! Today the Finnish Parliament just approved legislation enabling to submit a law proposal to the Parliament if it is signed by 50 000 people, so some progress is being done in involving citizens :)
- More relevance to citizens of local expenditure and projects
- Diversify and enhance the capabilities of teams involved and introduction of SoME technologies in public governance
- Impact bonus goes to the companies involved only if it is a successful implementation
- A beginning of new governance models in public sector based on practical experiences and combined effort
- find the pilot project (progressive and visionary mayor who wants to implement this)
- get a permission from public sector budgetary authorities to carry out such a pilot