Citizen participation and oversight over elected officials and decision making authorities constitutes a fundamental pillar for a solid, just and truly open democracy. Unfortunately, to this day, central governments and parliament leaderships have failed to invest much of their time and effort in creating the right conditions for the facilitation of citizens’ engagement in public affairs. This in turn has resulted in the latter feeling disenfranchised, voiceless, underrepresented and subsequently apathetic towards public life.

Local governments can potentially constitute an ideal testbed for the introduction of innovative civic technologies and participatory practices which will in turn enhance citizen engagement as well as oversight. This is mainly due to the fact that the issues and policy areas which fall under the mandate of local governments are more often than not more tangible, easy to grasp and directly affecting the everyday life of people.

It therefore follows that the employment of civic technologies and participatory practices at local level is more likely to mobilize citizens to engage actively in local politics and therefore instill in them a broader sense of civic duty and participation which in turn will benefit the quality of our democracy as a whole.


The objective of this project is to offer the citizens of the four biggest Greek cities (Athens – Thessaloniki – Iraklion – Patra) with all those tools necessary to facilitate their active participation in the shaping of the public life of their cities whilst keeping their elected representatives accountable. In particular the project aims at developing an innovative civic technology platform (modelled after Vouliwatch) equipped with a series of components which will allow them to monitor & question publicly their elected representatives, (co)draft policy proposals with the platform’s community, evaluate their municipality, organize volunteering activities in their cities and have a say on how the municipality budget is shaped (participatory budgeting).


The civic-tech platform ( will consist of a series of components/digital tools designed to enhance civic participation and oversight in four local governments’ decision making processes.


  • Modeled after Vouliwatch’s “Ask Your MP” this component will provide citizens with the opportunity to send questions to their elected representatives in the local government. The questions as well as the answers will be published on the dedicated profiles of each elected representative which will be hosted on the platform. The profiles in question will contain basic information of the elected representative such as his/her CV, his/her position or role in the local government, his/her political grouping affiliation, a profile picture and a section where he/she will be able to upload content relevant to his/her work.
  • A crowd sourcing tool through which citizens will be able to draft their own policy proposals. These will be made public on the dedicated section of the platform and will be open for comments/suggestions and votes by interested citizens. The proposals reaching a certain amount of unique votes/signatures (the amount will depend on the Municipality that the proposal is addressed to) will be automatically sent by the platform to the relevant Municipality authority for their consideration.
  • A participatory budgeting tool through which citizens will have the chance to vote on how a certain fraction of a given Municipality budget will be spent. The section in question will also include a presentation of each Municipality budget through easy on the eye visualizations. The component in question will require the active collaboration of the Municipalities who will define the amount from the budget which will be dedicated to actions stemming from the participatory budgeting process.
  • A digital forum which will act as an incubator of volunteering activities initiated by citizens. Through this component citizens will suggest specific volunteering activities in their municipality, promote them to the rest of the community and gather supporters and volunteers. It will include a browsing section where users will be able to filter through uploaded activities and choose the one they wish to get involved in.
  • An evaluation component where citizens will be able to evaluate the work of each Municipality in specific areas (infrastructures, cleanliness etc). The results of the evaluations will be sent periodically to the relevant Municipalities in the form of reports for their information.


A series of participatory design workshops (8 in total) will be hosted in the four Municipalities which will aim at introducing the platform to local communities and relevant stakeholders, involving the latter in the design and evaluation of the digital tools of the platform and gathering the first batch of citizens’ policy proposals.


  • The first round of participatory workshops will involve local stakeholders, associations and citizens who will be introduced to the project and asked to co-design through their suggestions and inputs the aforementioned digital tools/components of the platform. In particular the project’s team will present the suggested components which will be fine-tuned based on the feedback received during the workshops. These workshops will take place in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patra and Iraklio during the development stage of the platform.
  • The second round of participatory workshops will aim at presenting/promoting the completed platform to local stakeholders, associations and citizens residing in the aforementioned Municipalities. Most importantly however it will involve the participants in co-drafting specific policy proposals which will then be uploaded on the platform and sent to the relevant authorities for their consideration.


The Localwatch platform is expected to be up and running by September 2023!


Maria Nathanail — [email protected] — (+30) 213 03 86 340