Thanks to technology, citizens can, and should, co-produce public services

“Citizens should feel motivated to plan and produce services with us”

Paul Scriven, a consultant who works with UK local authorities, has written about what he thinks local government councils should focus on: how to get citizens involved in “not just co-consultation, but real co-production of public services.”

He gives examples of other countries whose local bodies have been able to do so successfully, using the latest technology. For instance, drivers in the US can attach monitors to their cars which automatically send  reports to highway officials when they detect bumps or dips in the road. These reports are then sorted in order of priority and dictate the next day’s road repairs, saving money on inspection.

Another example is that of Holland where citizens use their smartphones to photograph and record, using GPS, the locations of defibrillators; this data can then be uploaded onto an app for emergency heart attack situations.

“The challenge for local government in the UK is to ask how we move the principles of direct payments and personal budgets into other services so citizens and consumers of that service feel motivated to plan, produce and provide services with us,” he concludes.

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