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Citizens evaluating local services and facilities in Southern Italy


A joint evaluation of the project was carried out by all stakeholders involved in the final seminar on 5 July 2010. This showed that the project had achieved a number of its objectives. In particular, there was a general agreement that the assessment methodology was easy to use and flexible enough to adapt to local situations. The fact that the evaluation focussed on technical aspects of quality and not on the subjective perceptions of citizens was considered to be a strong point. 



Furthermore, it became obvious that the local services which had been evaluated were well chosen and were those most valued by citizens.  Local stakeholders less agreed about whether the local area covered by the evaluation was the right ‘geography’ to be evaluated. However, this emerged as another way of putting into practice the principle of “allowing citizens to decide", as local citizens could make up their minds where they think it is best to do the monitoring, given their own expertise and knowledge of the area. 


In particular, the project managers of the local councils felt that they had gained new knowledge in evaluation methodologies and citizen participation which they could use in other projects. As one testimonial put it:


I learnt about new methodologies to improve neighbourhood management. The involvement of citizens has filled an important gap in our public service management”.

Asnora Porcaro, Lamezia Terme (Calabria)


The citizens involved also thought that they learnt new things about the local area they lived in and their local council.


I do not want to be a citizen who always criticises the local council but does nothing to change things. However, I think that a lot of things are not working well in San Severo. Therefore, I have decided to become active and find evidence. Now I am waiting for the local councils to tell me what they are going to do about the evaluation which we have done”.

Felice Guiliani, member of Cittadinzattiva of San Severo

It is remarkable that 11 out of the 14 local authorities completed the pilot project from the "call to citizen participation" to the editing of the final reports. The reports include the public service evaluation with a specific score (from 0 to 4) for each quality dimension of the service concerned.

Five reports also include specific proposals for improvement. The majority of these suggestions concern mobility (transport and traffic), social well-being and waste management issues. For example, citizens proposed the creation of pedestrian areas, the improvement of road signs and increasing the number of garbage bins. However, moving from the citizens' proposals to effective actions proved to be difficult in most of the 11 pilots. Mainly due to budget contraints, only two local authorities implemented the sugestions of the citizens.

Another outcome was the level of citizen participation. About 150 citizens were involved altogether, with big differences within the various municipalities: one pilot engaged more than 50 people; in three cases 10-10 people were involved; and in seven pilots fewer than 10 people in each. Clearly, the issue of increasing the number of citizens involved in such evaluations is central.

Importantly, the project also resulted in a number of other benefits. For example, Lamezia Terme Council started a new project e-civit@s which aims at collecting online suggestons and complaints from local citizens. Moreover, both San Severo and Putignano Councils, together with the citizens and the assocations involved in the civic evalution project, began new forms of consultations on important quality of life issues in the local area. Last but not least, Salaparuta Council committed itself to organising some meetings with local schools in order to start a new civic evaluation - this time targeted at young people.



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

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