The Decidim project is a digital platform for citizen participation, created using open source software and pioneering in its handling and protection of user data. The platform came into operation on 1 February 2016 as part of the Municipal Action Plan (PAM). A report on its first three years in operation was presented at the full council meeting of 29 March 2019.
Following Barcelona’s tradition as a pioneering and participatory city when it comes to democratic innovation, the platform decidim.barcelona has over 31,000 registered users and has collected over 9,000 citizen proposals which have been adopted. At present the platform combines 38 participatory processes, various municipal participation bodies and a dozen citizen initiatives.
At the same time, decidim.org is a generic digital platform, designed to be shared with institutions and organisations from everywhere. The platform facilitates any democratic process which is to be developed, with a flexible modular design that can be easily adapted.
The platform uses open-source and open-development software which in the last three years has been rolled out and used within and beyond Barcelona. In the municipal sphere it is regarded as a public service used by entities and organisations from the social and solidarity economy and various others, also acting as an internal tool for democracy within municipal facilities. Further afield the platform has reached other public administrations in Catalonia and the rest of the Spanish state, as well as countries such as Mexico, Finland and Belgium.
The other main factor in the success of Decidim is its human community. Metadecidim is the ecosystem which surrounds the platform and is made up of social groups and organisations, citizens, technical staff from the City Council, research centres and others. This community supports the platform, applying their thought and helping it grow, in turn fostering participation which even extends to the design of the platform itself.
The report offers data and evaluations of the three years of operation and evolution in the creation of tools for citizen empowerment, which facilitate more direct and inclusive participation.