Skip directly to content


Is your city conversational about its government?

Municipalities - take a test to find out whether you are open, transparent and engage in genuine dialogue.


The Opening Up project has developed an online tool for municipalities to find out whether they embrace “conversation government”. The tool is available in English and Dutch and asks users approximately 50 questions around five broad themes:

  • Content: how available and accessible is your content or information?
  • Customer experience: how do citizens or organisations value your services?
  • Context: to what extent is your organisation user-oriented?
  • Conversation: does your government organisation talk ‘with’ or only ‘to’ the public
  • Collaboration: is the public actively involved?

The tool will reveal whether your organisation has a hierarchical, closed culture with silos and one-way communication? Or perhaps you strive for transparency and collaboration through genuine conversation with citizens and service users?

The tool will also show how well you compare with similar organisations across the EU, so you can see whether you are leading the field or falling behind.

The results of the test include customised recommendations and advice on how to open up and embrace dialogue and collaboration. It also discusses how to use social media strategy as part of your municipality’s communications and engagement programme. You may even want to take the complementary Social Media Maturity test – find out if you are ready for Facebook!

“Discover your conversation mentality”

Summary of benefits

  • Questions highlight problem areas or ignorance
  • Compare against benchmark performance
  • Advice on next steps
  • Plan internal communication and raise awareness
  • Develop more effective, strategic campaigns

Next steps



Marijke Lemal

Local elections: the municipal reach of social media

Municipalities must stay neutral, but their social media activity is vital at election time. Many municipalities have a large and diverse social media following, but can these citizens be encouraged to get out and vote?


Election time is when politicians have the best chance to grab your attention. You’ll see them on TV, hear them on the radio, perhaps even see them at public meetings. But there is nothing quite like door-to-door canvassing: what can beat a frank, face-to-face, one-to-one conversations to bring party politics down to everyday life?

Social media offers a similar level of connection between politicians and citizens. Conversations –whether on a Facebook wall or via 140 character tweets – feel personal. And they take place within the context of your everyday life when you log in to your networks as you travel to work or over coffee.

But here’s the catch: most local politicians and councillors do not have large social media followings. So how can they get their messages out to the masses and in turn listen to what these people have to say?

The Opening Up project has found that municipalities can make a big contribution to citizen engagement and participation at election time. Municipal employees and politicians agree that the municipality’s social media presence should be politically neutral, but with a diverse, large and local following – often young people – this is the very audience that every election candidate wants to reach.

So what can municipalities do? Here are just a few ideas:

  • Live streaming of public meetings

  • Set up an “Ask the candidates” Facebook page or hashtag, so citizens can ask about policies and candidates can all reply

  • Post links to candidate statements, party websites etc.

  • Post practical content about election procedures, locations of polling stations etc.

  • Post human interest stories about municipal staff helping to run the election


“With a diverse, large and local social media following – including young people – municipalities reach the very audience that election candidates seek”

Summary of benefits

  • Higher voter participation

  • Useful feedback from citizens

Further reading

  • Facebook guidelines by Karlstad

  • Article: Voter turnout raised in Danish municipality

Web links


Birgitte Städe, Communication Consultant, Høje-Taastrup Municipality, Denmark. Email:

Birgitte Städe has been leading the Opening Up project in Høje-Taastrup and has worked with colleagues to launch Høje-Taastrup on social media, primarily the municipality’s official Facebook-page.