Decide Madrid

Decide Madrid

Decide Madrid

Decide Madrid is an online platform for public participation in decision-making, launched by the Madrid city council. The platform is designed for citizens to voice their concerns and participate through the development of proposals, votes for new local laws, debates, participatory budgeting and consultations.

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Innovation Overview

In 2011, the 15-M Spanish indignados movement brought thousands of citizens out to the streets demanding a better democracy. The cries for “we want a real democracy” followed several pervasive issues in the country – notably, the financial crisis, housing crisis, high unemployment rates, lack of job prospects for young people, corruption, and a sense of lack of political legitimacy of democratic institutions. This movement sought to improve democratic processes and institutions, especially by increasing transparency, accountability and participation. As a result, the city of Madrid was set to find a new way to engage with citizens and promote an active participation in matters of public life.

Following the decline of trust in public institutions propelled by a series of corruption scandals in Spain, the Madrid City Council launched the Decide Madrid platform in 2015. Decide Madrid is the official open governance platform serving as a one-stop shop for all official open governance processes in the municipality, including issues of transparency, open data and participation. It makes use of an open source civic technology called CONSUL, which is used to engage the public in decision-making. The platform has many distinct areas for participation – namely, through its features providing spaces for debates, citizen proposals and participatory budgeting. As argued by Sam De Jhon from the Gov Lab UK: “The goal is to empower citizens, promote transparency and foster open government practices”.

The platform follows a very user-friendly approach, notably through its three main phases to submit, support and vote initiatives. Decide Madrid allows citizens to propose new local laws through a simple questionnaire. Subsequently, other local residents (aged 16+) are able to support their favourite proposals and prioritize the most interesting and relevant proposals. Proposals that receive support from at least 1% of the population are sent to the final voting phase. Finally, registered users can contribute to the debate on the select initiatives, vote for or against motions and provide additional comments.

Even though proposals receive a majority support in the voting phase, these initiatives still have to go through a process of revision by the Madrid City Council. A 30-day study of any such proposal is made, with a thorough evaluation of the legal, competence and economic feasibility of the initiative to determine if it will be approved. If the report rules in favour of the proposal, an action plan is written and published. In case of a negative review, the Council is responsible for drafting an alternative proposal to address the issue, or publish the reason which prevents its full implementation.

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Year: 2015
Level of government: Local government


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