22 March 2019 – Access Info Europe, together with civil society partners from across Europe, meeting today in Amsterdam, created a new foundation to promote citizen engagement in decision making using the CONSUL participation platform.
The CONSUL Democracy Foundation will promote citizen participation worldwide and will oversee the use and development of the largest open source digital democracy platform – CONSUL, a citizen participation tool currently in use by over 100 institutions in 35 countries.
CONSUL is an open source platform, whose development was started by Madrid City Council in 2015 and has since been taken up and expanded by municipalities and programming teams from all over the world, including Paris, Porto Alegre, Buenos Aires, New York, and Ljubljana.
The CONSUL platform permits citizens to make proposals to governments and to join structured participatory exercises such as participatory budgets and public consultations. It allows for secure voting on proposals as well as permitting comments on legislative texts, along with open conversation threads on aspects of city life of interest to the public.
The goal of the CONSUL Democracy Foundation is to oversee further development and expanded use of the platform,
The CONSUL project was in 2018 awarded the United Nations Public Service Award. The UN Development Program (UNDP) is using CONSUL as a tool in several countries, in particular in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.
The Foundation was established in The Netherlands under the name Stichtung Consul Democracy. The management board consists of representatives from Access Info Europe (Spain), Fundacja ePanstwo (Poland), Netwerk Democratie (The Netherlands), Open Source Initiative (USA/Global), Mehr Demokratie (Germany), Digidem Lab (Sweden), and Danes je nov dan (Slovenia).
The board was joined by an Consultative Committee formed by representatives from The Democratic Society (Belgium/Italy/UK), COSS Finland (Finland), Democratie Ouverte (France), NewDemocracy Foundation (Australia), and Deliberative Democracy Consortium (USA).