This morning, four London civic activists released a media statement about a project they’ve been working on, a survey for all members of London City Council to gauge how they engage with citizens. The members of the group are Eamon O’Flynn (@EamonOFlynn), Susan Toth (@TothSusan), Shawn Adamsson (@late2game) and Anne-Marie Sánchez (@anma_sa).

This is the media release by the group:

Is your voice being heard at city hall? Do you want to know what your councillor does to engage with his or her constituents? A new study seeks to find out exactly what city council is doing to inform and engage its constituents.

A group of Londoners are conducting a survey to determine what methods councillors are using to engage the public. The Citizen Engagement in London Ontario, or CELO, study looks at mailing lists and newsletters, town hall meetings, ward events, and social media.

“Voter turnout rates are dropping across Canada,” says Susan Toth, an individual involved in the CELO study. “Engagement is a major factor in whether people decide to vote. We want to know what council is doing to engage its constituents.”

Toth’s group sent the survey to council members on Sept. 17, and set a deadline of Oct. 1. The survey is 25 questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete. Council members who do not finish the questionnaire will have to endure being branded “incomplete” on the survey’s website.

“We’ve done our best to be transparent and objective,” says Toth. “The goal isn’t to pass judgment. The goal is to identify which tools are being used.”

The group intends to offer training to any members of council who want to learn more about the variety of communication tools available to them.

The website for the project is here, featuring the members of Council who currently have and haven’t completed the survey.

As of this post, the members of Council that have completed the survey are: Joe Swan (Ward 3), Joni Baechler (Ward 5), Nancy Branscombe (Ward 6), Matt Brown (Ward 7), Paul Hubert (Ward 8) and Harold Usher (Ward 12).

The members that haven’t completed are: Mayor Joe Fontana, Bud Polhill (Ward 1), Bill Armstrong (Ward 2), Stephen Orser (Ward 4), Dale Henderson (Ward 9), Paul Van Meerbergen (Ward 10), Denise Brown (Ward 11), Judy Bryant (Ward 13) and Sandy White (Ward 14).

I hope that all members of Council will complete this survey, and connect with the team members to work to further connect with their constituents. With voter turnout decreasing all across the country, and only about 40% of all eligible Londoners voting in the last city election, any attempts to engage with citizens and encourage them to participate in the civic process is very exciting.

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