For a second year in a row, UserCentriCities is getting ready to crown the winner of the best user-centric service in European cities and regions.
The award aims to raise awareness and recognise the outstanding achievements made by European cities and regions in developing user-centric services for their citizens. A high-level group of experts from international institutions, the public sector and academia had the hard task of evaluating 44 submitted services from all over Europe. Their evaluation was based on the user-centricity principles for the design and delivery of digital public services as outlined in the Tallinn Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment. In the end, three finalists stood out.
Initially created in 2012 and redesign according to the user-centricity principles in 2021, Talk London is a civic engagement platform aimed to engage Londoners in City Hall policy and programme making. With a tagline of “Your city, your say! Let’s make London better together!”, the overall goal is to empower Londoners to have a meaningful impact on the decisions that affect their daily lives while actively contributing to transforming their city.
Any Londoner can become a member of Talk London, which seeks to reach and engage a wide and diverse audience to guarantee all groups are represented in decision-making processes. Its guiding principles include: making it easier to get involved; making City Hall more accessible, demonstrating impact, making the design process more transparent, and rewarding users for getting involved and addressing the reasons for engagement.
To help City Hall policy teams engage with Londoners, surveys, discussions and idea-generation activities are run regularly. The process provides background information and extra context to allow its members to get involved in an informed way.
Proactive Services in Ghent
The city of Ghent is transforming the way it provides its services to its citizens by offering its services more proactively, especially targeting citizens in vulnerable and underserved situations. Three user cases have been developed and implemented so far: Reduction of school fees for low-income families; free garbage bags for citizens with lower incomes; and “UiTPAS”, a culture pass granting a reduction of fees on the city’s cultural activities. A fourth case targeting low-emission zones is still under development.
Utilising available datasets to check if the citizen meets the specific criteria, the city offers these services proactively, eliminating the need for the citizen to provide its data, but automatically gathering it from federal databases checked against the Business Rule Engine set up by the Flemish administration. Ultimately, the citizen benefits from these services without having to apply for them.
This has had a significant impact on the reduction of the city’s administrative burden, making space for a more efficient process, while reaching more beneficiaries by offering the services proactively.
Learn more about Ghent’s services here.
Meld’R – Public Space Report - Rotterdam
Have you ever stumbled upon a broken bench at a park and wished you could have reported to the city hall immediately? The Meld’R app is a user-friendly, easy and intuitive app that allows Rotterdam citizens to do exactly that. Whether it’s about litter, accessibility barriers or pest control, Meld’R app streamlines the reporting process while allowing the city to resolve any issues efficiently and effectively.
Co-designed with the input from 50 Rotterdam citizens and based on extensive research, discovered that reports about public space are essential to citizen’s perceived quality of life and should be addressed quickly and properly. The app design principles focus on providing social benefits to citizens by ensuring their reports are handled efficiently. It was co-created, built and launched during the COVID pandemic, making residents its ambassadors.
The app has changed the way people report problems in the city. As of now, 70% of all reports are made through app.
Learn more about Meld’R here.
More user-centric inspiring services
The three finalists will present their services during the award ceremony in the framework of the 2023 UserCentriCities Summit this 25 May in Brussels. While we wait to know who will be the winner, more inspiring services can be found on the User-centric Services Repository, a unique online best practices library. Browse the repository to get inspired by other cities and regions working to boost user-centricity in their administrations.