Local governments are at the forefront of the COVID-19 crisis. Public administrations, local health services and first responders are being put under incredible strain and their efforts are an essential part in helping slow the epidemic. As safety precautions increase and isolation measures generalise, governments are having to rethink the way they communicate with their citizens.

At CitizenLab we are aware of our personal responsibilities and have now shifted to remote working for the entire team. In-person meetings, client meetings and other events have all been cancelled to limit social contacts. In this new configuration, all our efforts are geared towards assisting local governments in any way we can. We believe it is key to ensure democratic continuity whilst communities adapt to these new circumstances and are here to help with this process.

Our digital platform can be used to consult citizens on their most urgent needs, to share information in real-time or to replace physical participation events. Over the coming weeks, our main priority will be helping local governments set up digital platforms and smoothly transition into these new workflows. We’re looking to assist you any way we can, whether that’s providing digital tools, offering practical guidance or sharing digital participation best practices.

So, how can we help?

  • If you’re looking for an efficient way to inform your citizens or gather their ideas on how to tackle this crisis, setting up a digital participation project can be a good way to do so.
  • In our interactive webinar, we’ll discuss exactly how you can set up efficient digital processes to inform and consult your citizens. In these difficult times, moving your consultation initiatives to the online realm is key.
  • Our free online resources provide a well of information about online consultation. From a Beginner’s Guide on digital participation to expert guides on participatory budgeting, measuring impact, inclusion, online consultation and the future of digital democracy, these guides will surely inspire you to launch your own digital participation project.
  • Our team has developed a new product functionality to strengthen the sense of solidarity in local communities. This new feature enables governments to list volunteering activities that citizens can sign up for.
  • The platform also works as an alternative to online town halls and workshops: it supports votes and deliberation, and we are working to integrate video to facilitate live meetings.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us.

Thank you to all the health personnel and members of local governments who are working to keep others healthy. To our fellow citizens, stay safe.


Wietse Van Ransbeeck,
Co-founder and CEO, CitizenLab.