Rotterdam citizens' panel keeps the municipal services sharp
What is the quality of the services provided by the city? Are there urgent issues that the city administration is ignoring?
How can a city ensure that its services meet the needs of its citizens?
In Rotterdam, a panel of thirty citizens called the Citizens' Panel Rotterdam monitors the municipal services. Rotterdam is considered a pioneer in the field of citizen participation: the Quality Panel Rotterdam, which was also composed of citizens, was founded in 1991 and was succeeded by the Citizens' Panel in September 2006.
Like its predecessor, the Citizens' Panel monitors the municipal services from the perspective of the resident, but with the power of binding recommendations. The Citizens' Panel provides solicited and unsolicited advice to the city administration, and the Mayor and Aldermen are required to react to their suggestions within an agreed-upon time limit. Since its foundation, the Citizens' Panel has examined the newly-established City Shops, performed a quickscan on litter and provided recommendations on bicycle parking facilities.
The Citizens' Panel Rotterdam is made up of volunteers and is independent. With the exception of the city administration's requests for advice, the panel members choose the issues they wish to address on their own. Thus the panel provides solicited and unsolicited recommendations. The panel's suggestions are then discussed by the Mayor and Aldermen. The city administration is currently working hard to provide better service, and for the first two years of its existence, the Citizens' Panel concentrated especially on the off shoots of the Services New Style programme.
SONOR (Stichting Onderneming Opbouwwerk Rotterdam - Rotterdam Community Work Foundation) was responsible for recruiting members of the Citizens' Panel. The members represent a cross-section of all persons who rely on municipal services.SONOR also provides the Citizens' Panel with coaching and guidance. The goal is to eventually grow to approximately 50 panel members; as of 2007, the panel consists of 35 members.
Since September 2006, the Citizens' Panel has examined five subjects:
- Opgeruimd (Nice and tidy) (September - October 2006, 8 members): quickscan on litter;
- Stadswinkel (City Shop) (October - November 2006, 13 members): quickscan on the awareness and accessibility of the City Shops;
- Fiets (Bicycle) (October 2006 - February 2007): on the bicycle parking facilities in Rotterdam;
- Nadien (Results for Nadine) (January - July 2007, 11 members): study of the new search engine Nadine on the municipal website, at the request of the Public Affairs Office;
- Groen (Green) (January - July 2007): what do Rotterdammers think about the green areas in their neighbourhood.
Citizens' Panel Rotterdam
Aart Martin de Jong
T: 0031 6 11492855
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