Local government to reach residents via app in Latvia

Daugavpils municipality has developed a mobile application for residents' communication with the local government authorities, Latvian Radio reported January 14.

Currently, the app can be used in several ways: to find out information about events, news and initiatives of the City Council, and to express own proposals, evaluation, support or criticism. The mobile app will add and open up more possibilities.

This project has cost the municipality EUR 30 000. It is a better way to connect with the public, said Deputy Executive Director of Daugavpils City Council Kārlis Rasis:

“If we look in contrast with websites, then we have to go after a specific address, we need to look for specific information. We receive notifications only after active visit. Here, in the mobile app, we, by contrast, install the app on the device. You can download it on the App Store and Play Market by typing “Daugavpils” into the search engine. Currently, 5 sections have been created in a mobile app, a calendar of events, news and reports, citizens' suggestions, council initiatives and contacts.”

The new app is already available at its first stage, Rasis said. In parallel, information can also be actively involved by citizens themselves.

“Every resident can recommend his or her suggestion to the local government. For example, when you see a problem, whether there is a hole or no traffic light, or an incident that needs to be reported to the local authorities, this app lets you photograph the problem and immediately takes GPS coordinates of the site,” the council spokesman said.

Although there are cities where similar apps have been introduced, this is the broadest project in Latvia, Rasis said. “It is no innovation, I think in the 21st century all municipalities have such apps,” he added.

For the application to justify itself, it needs a significant number of people who have access to mobile devices with that function.

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