Young people in Espoo now have their own feedback channel, which makes giving feedback quick and easy. Young people between 13 and 20 years of age can also submit initiatives to the city if they feel that there is a bigger matter they want to influence.
The development of the feedback and initiative channel for young people originated from a council initiative made in 2018. The council initiative on the electronic initiative service for children and young people states that “in a citizen-oriented and democratic city, investments are made to increase the inclusion and empowerment of all groups”.
The City of Espoo asked young people about what kind of issues and how they would like to give feedback to the city. Young people were interested in giving feedback on a wide range of topics, including health-related issues, recycling and accessibility. They did not, however, wish for new mobile applications.
The city already has a feedback service in place, but it was decided to create a dedicated channel for young people. This is because the city wanted, in accordance with the council initiative, to provide young people with a possibility to submit initiatives, which is a stronger tool than giving feedback, without the need for strong authentication.
Giving feedback pays off
The City of Espoo has made many good reforms inspired by the feedback received. Also notifications on things needing fixing are important.
“Feedback is a quick way to report, for example, a defect or to make wishes. If a book you would like to read is missing from the library or a new bike rack is needed in your neighbourhood, giving feedback to the city is the way to go. On the other hand, if the matter involves a greater change, it may be a good idea to consider submitting an initiative on the matter,” says Katariina Eskola, Service Specialist.
Feedback can be given completely anonymously if so desired.
Municipal initiative is a way of influencing matters
According to the Local Government Act, residents of a municipality have the right to submit initiatives on matters concerning the municipality’s activities. The right to submit an initiative is not linked to age. Municipal initiatives can also be submitted by persons under 18 years and foreign nationals. It is also possible to submit an initiative together with a larger group, but one person has to give their contact information for possible further questions and the answer. At the latest within one month of receiving the initiative, a person preparing the matter will provide the estimated processing time and the name of the person who can provide further information regarding the processing of the initiative. The answer will be sent when the initiative has been fully processed.
In the future, Espoo Youth Council will also submit their initiatives via this channel. The hope is to increase the interest of young people in influencing matters and to provide a fast channel through which to thank the city, make suggestions for change or share a good idea.
The feedback and initiative channel for young people is available at nuortenpalaute.espoo.fi. There are Finnish, Swedish and English language versions.
Katariina Eskola, Service Specialist, tel. 050 413 4161, firstname.lastname@example.org