A new line in local democracy
For the first time ever in this country, citizens can now use a free phone-number and an interactive website to give their feedback on the work of local government.
By calling the new phone-line at 0800 111 85 or by using the Get Involved and Give a Suggestion! website, citizens can register their level of satisfaction with the essential services provided by their municipalities and report any short fallings in the implementation of laws and policies at the level of local government.
Website and free phone-line allow citizens to jump into local governance processes
- By calling the new phone-line at 0800 111 85 or by using the website, citizens can register their level of satisfaction with the essential services provided by their municipalities and report any short fallings in the implementation of laws and policies at the level of local government.
“We really needed a tool which would enable us to gather opinions and suggestions on the work of municipalities and allow us to keep abreast of public views on a regular basis,” says Vanco Sehtanski, Director of the State Inspectorate—the government body responsible for monitoring the implementation of local government policies. “The website and the phone-line will significantly help towards making local government more responsive to the needs of the public.’
The initiative behind the free phone-line and website was developed by UNDP's Governance team with backing for the project secured from the Regional Innovation Fund.‘The idea was to ensure greater access to participation in decision-making processes at local level,’ explains UNDP’s Toni Popovski, ‘This is part of our long-term support for the country’s decentralization programme. The success of decentralization ultimately depends on mechanisms like this to improve accountability at municipal level and get citizens directly involved in decision-making about the things that affect their quality of life.”
The phone-line and website was just launched by UNDP in cooperation with the Ministry and the State Secretariat for Local Self-Government. At the press launch, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Local Self-Government, Mr. Saso Stefanovski, welcomed the new mechanism as ‘a major step forward’ in improving the responsiveness of municipalities and reiterated the importance of participation: "The involvement of citizens is extremely important to promote the decentralization process and promote local democracy,” said Mr. Stefanovski, “And direct contact with citizens is the best way to achieve our aims."
The website includes numerous options for users to register their views—on individual topic forums, in survey forms, and by submitting specific suggestions. Available in Macedonian, Albanian and English, the website further offers news and points of interest about trends in public opinion in relation to local government. And the data gathered through the new tool will also allow decision-making to be better informed by crowd-sourcing and other data gathering methods.