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Interactive website design and better governance

Posted by : Tarun in web developments ()Comments

A friend forwarded me a link to this news item. The article was about the internet enabling citizens to police themselves. Well, somewhat. In yet another effort towards transparency and greater people involvement, an official website of a police force has been designed to allow for the citizens it polices, to decide how they want to be policed. Yes, you heard it right. The North Wales Police in the UK gives people an interactive way to residents to decide how they want to allocate the available police force in their area.

Residents sign-up on the website, select their area code, and decide on the distribution of the resources available to policing overspeeding, drug dealing, graffiti, violence and others. They get one vote a month and at the end of the month the department gets the report. These reports will enable The North Wales Police to work towards syncing their resource allocation with any statistically significant opinions received.

Increasing resident participation and involvement in decisions that affect them directly has been made possible with the power of the internet. As the internet penetration increases worldwide, websites, blogs and social media presence will become critical communication and engagement tools.

More and more governments, political parties and leaders are already leveraging the power of internet to build a connect with the general population. After Obama’s online success story scripted his political coup online, we have an ever greater number of politicians taking to Twitter and Facebook. Being there and being available as a “friend” or a “follower” makes them appear approachable and build an emotional connect and engage with their local communities.

Government bodies that allow for greater interactivity and community participation through their websites are likely to come across as more transparent and accountable. However, how the data collected through such online interactivity is used towards better governance will determine the success of these efforts long after the initial hype and is over.

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