Citizens Re-Write Social Policy Through Online Collaboration
In 2012, the Canadian province of Alberta undertook an unprecedented exercise of collaborating online with its citizens to develop a major social policy.
The collaboration involved a wiki-style collaboration in which citizens were asked to state their views and opinions on the directions which Alberta’s social policy and programs should take. These views were incorporated directly into the Social Policy Framework.
Over 30,000 people contributed to the plan through community consultation and a wiki website which allowed them to add, change, or delete content and leave comments explaining their comments or comment on the edits of others.
The collaboration identified four key goals for social policy including reducing inequality, protecting vulnerable people, enabling collaboration and partnerships, and creating a person-centred system of high quality services. Citizens also recommended a number of policy shifts, including a greater focus on prevention and awareness that were incorporated into the framework.
The policies that were agreed to through the collaborative process was supported by $1 billion in funding by the Alberta Government.
The online process of collaboration has continued with citizens being asked to contribute their ideas on implementing the policy.
Thumbnail image: tamuc/Flickr