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Citizens evaluating local services and facilities in Southern Italy


Learning points


As this project involved a partnership between public agencies, civic associations and service users, there has been a lot of learning for all involved stakeholders. Clearly, at times the communication between professionals and citizens was not easy, as their expectations were quite different. Moreover, in the current financial crisis the local authorities have not been able to deal with all the weaknesses identified by the citizen evaluators – they can’t “repair all the potholes” as one citizen demanded. One way forward could be to agree from the outset a charter between the local authority and the citizen evaluators, specifying the obligations of both parties. Most importantly, the citizens involved expect feedback from the local authority on what kind of actions will be taken as a result of the evaluation.

        
        


For the local authorities involved, an important issue is how to increase the number of citizens who involved in such evaluations. At the evaluation seminar it was suggested that a greater diversity of communication channels, including the internet, could be one way forward. Small incentives such as vouchers were also discussed, to get more disadvantaged citizens on board, or the use of a small grant scheme to incentivise citizens to make suggestions for improvements and to commit to helping the local council to implement the suggestions by contributing some of their time, expertise and other resources.

 

Another learning point was how to make the results of the evaluation sustainable and effective. In particular, representatives of local councils thought that it would be valuable to incorporate the evaluation in the strategic planning process of the local council, so that the citizens’ evaluation could help the council to determine strategic priorities.

 

Last but not least, all stakeholders agreed that the methodology could be used to evaluate other public services at neighbourhood level, provided that the right dimensions and indicators of quality are jointly defined.

 

About this case study
Main Contact

Laura Massoli
Department for

Public Administration

 

email:

 

l.massoli@funzionepubblica.it

Laura Massoli provided Governance International with this case study on 30 July 2010. It was updated on 17 February 2012.

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