Civic Monitoring

Civic monitoring is an innovative form of citizens engagement. It consists of a range of different activities:

  • collection of data
  • research and analysis
  • on-the-field activities
  • interviews and meetings
  • elaboration of reports

 It combines different disciplines, tools, ICTs, individual work or in team.

Civic monitors are groups of voluntary citizens of any age interested in a specific issue, according to the situations.  Experts/facilitators support and work with them during the activities.

It differs from other forms of civic engagement initiatives because it is process-oriented, scalable.

No matter which is the policy area addressed, the focus is the citizens' involvement in the decision-making processes. 

Some key principles of civic monitoring are:

  • A collaborative approach among civic monitors, local government representatives, and public officials. Civic monitors work as “partners” of the local government, not as representatives of the citizens/community; they meet regularly to discuss together local problems but also to share ideas, proposals to improve the quality of life and the cohesion within the community. Their contribution is crucial, and the public authority commits itself to take on board the monitors ‘contributions and proposals (it is not a window-dressing form of cooperation or a consultative mechanism).
  • Active participation in public decisions. Civic monitors have the chance “to be part of” the planning and decision-making process underlying local public policies and decisions. They can see from the inside how the decision-making process works and learn how to contribute to it constructively and effectively (it is not an arena for raising problems and for protesting).
  • Public accountability on how public funds are spent. Civic monitors can help the local authority become more accountable through a better and clearer communication on how public spending is concerned, increasing the trust of citizens.
  • Transparency. The public authority is available to provide information and data on public policies and activities  in an accesible and easy way increasing the possibility for citizens to get correct information.

It proves to be quite effective with adolescents and young people (12-18 years old) thanks to its practical component, flexible format and spaces for creativity, bottom-up approach.

From an educational perspective, it helps build human and social capital. It has an essential impact on raising awareness among young people on their role and responsibilities as citizens and in allowing them to develop skills that are valuable to them as they become adults. Furthermore, civic monitoring is also a practice that enables youth to cooperate proactively with local public institutions and to contribute to the development of their community.

 

Amapola's Civic Monitoring projects:

Giovani Monitori Civici (It)

Integrity Pact - civic monitoring labs (It)

Post in Voices of Transparency blog (Transparency International) about work related learning porject on civic monitoring (en)