Wellington City Council contracted Loomio to handle the online side of a large public consultation exercise – developing an alcohol management strategy for the city. The Council wanted to get diverse input from people who would usually be too busy to attend traditional public consultation meetings.
What resulted was a lively mixture of bar owners, students, residents’ associations, liquor industry employees, emergency services staff, teenagers and anti-alcohol campaigners all getting together online in a month-long collaboration.
‘One thing which I think is truly unique about Loomio is not only the diversity of participation, but how this range of people of quite different backgrounds took each other seriously and communicated constructively. Loomio has a particular strength at bringing out a wide range of ideas from the community at the very beginning of the process.’ Jaime Dyhrberg, Wellington City Council
Groups of 50 were seeded with nine discussion topics, and anyone participating could start a discussion about any issue they were particularly interested in.
Council staff also took part in the discussion, providing resources like statistics and policy documents, and answering questions. They could also invite specialists in different areas, such as emergency services staff, police and community workers, when needed. This resulted in a high quality discussion encouraging people to think beyond the preconceptions they might have arrived with.
Loomio also provided facilitation services to help maintain a respectful and productive space for discussion and engage a diverse range of stakeholders:
- engagement strategy (online and in person)
- question design and discussion seeding
- online facilitation
- collaboration design.
‘Democracy is not just a question of having a vote. It consists of strengthening each citizen’s possibility and capacity to participate in the deliberations involved in life in society.’
Fernando Cardoso, Past President of Brazil