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How Can Local Government's Citizen Engagement Efforts Improve?

A lot of local governments are using citizen engagement technology, but there's room for improvement in how they use them.

As local governments find more ways to collect, process and publish data, many are finding themselves faced with a new problem: not knowing exactly what to do with it.

The same, apparently, holds true when it comes to citizen engagement. Governing* magazine and Living Cities’ 2016 Equipt to Innovate survey found, after assessing which citizen engagement tools are most prevalent at the municipal level, that many of the cities in the survey were struggling with following up on their engagement efforts.

Though 90 percent of the participants said they were using some kind of citizen engagement technology — most commonly social media — 40 percent said they need to improve on the ways they use that input. And even when they do use citizen engagement for something, 41 percent said they don’t let residents know that they made a difference.

*Governing is part of e.Republic, Government Technology's parent company.

Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.