Citizen survey

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The citizen survey or resident survey is a form of citizen participation in decisions of the public administration through consultation. There is also a survey of citizens about a specific project. As is usual with other surveys, citizens are usually given a paper form with the questions for this purpose, which they send back after they have filled out or hand in at publicized collection points. Citizens' surveys are always anonymous .

Often, resident surveys are carried out at the municipal level in advance of publicly controversial building and regulatory measures (e.g. the new development of an area or the expansion of parking space management) in order to determine the actual degree of approval and rejection among the population. In this way, different planning variants can be presented to the citizens and a project can be aligned more closely to the wishes of the residents. In addition, surveys of residents often have the effect of increasing acceptance and avoiding disputes, as it is conveyed to citizens that they are involved in decision-making processes and not decided "over their heads".

In addition, citizen surveys are occasionally carried out by other authorities and institutions such as tax offices and ministries or for scientific purposes using methods of empirical social research in order to query the satisfaction of users with certain services and to be able to better adapt them to actual wishes and expectations.

Legal regulation

Lower Saxony

The representation (city, municipality or joint municipality council, district council) of a municipality can acc. In accordance with Section 35 (1) of the NKomVG, the citizens can be questioned in matters relating to the municipality or the district. District councils and local councils can decide to conduct a public survey in the locality or district in matters whose importance does not go beyond the locality or the city district (Section 93 (3) NKomVG).

In both cases, interviews in matters of individual members of the representation, the main committee, the city district councils, the local councils and the committees as well as the employees of the municipality are not permitted (§ 35 sentence 2, § 93 paragraph 3 sentence 2 NKomVG). This also applies to petitions for citizens (Section 32, Paragraph 2, Clause 2, No. 2 NKomVG). The legal relationships of the named persons are regulated in detail by the municipal constitution, civil service and collective bargaining law and leave no room for majority decisions. The discussion of personnel matters in public is also opposed to the legitimate interests of those affected in keeping their circumstances secret.

Citizens are the residents of a municipality with municipal voting rights (Section 28 (2) NKomVG).

The survey serves to support decision-making. The result of the survey is not legally binding. Unlike in a referendum , the council is not bound by the result of the survey. Citizens' surveys are always decided by the council. Surveys on different questions can be carried out on the same day or in the same period. As a rule, citizens are asked questions that can be answered with YES or NO.

So that a citizen survey according to § 35 sentence 1 NKomVG can be carried out, the council must first adopt a statute that regulates the details (§ 35 sentence 3 NKomVG). A municipality can issue a general statute that is applicable to all citizen surveys or issue a single statute for a specific individual case. In the case of a general statute, a resolution of the council is required. Section 93 (3) of the NKomVG does not refer to the statute requirement from Section 35, sentence 3 of the NKomVG for a survey in localities and city districts.

The main purpose of a citizen survey is to provide the council with information for its opinion and decision-making and thus ultimately to improve its decision-making ability. At the same time, such surveys can also increase the interest of citizens in matters that affect their immediate living environment and strengthen their commitment to local politics.

Practical examples are the citizen survey on the Emlichheim waste incineration plant in 2004 or on the city merger of Böhmetal in 2008.

Other federal states

In Saarland, Section 20b of the Municipal Self-Administration Act (KSVG) provides for a survey of residents on important community issues , the details of which are to be regulated by statutes. Section 13 of the municipal constitution of the state of Brandenburg (BbgKVerf) permits different forms of municipal public relations work. Afterwards, citizen surveys are also possible.

App for citizen surveys

The university city of Tübingen wants to be the first city in Germany to regularly survey its citizens on pioneering political issues via app from summer 2018. So that nobody is discriminated against, citizens can also take part in the surveys via browser or in writing. The solution should guarantee that only registered citizens can take part in the surveys. At the same time, anonymity and data protection should be guaranteed and multiple votes should be excluded. The Tübingen municipal council has passed a statute that regulates, among other things, that citizens are informed about the topic of the survey and the pros and cons of each survey on additional print and online channels. In addition, information events for residents are to take place.

The format is intended to complement the previous participation formats in Tübingen, which are primarily of an advisory nature. With the new format, the aim is to significantly expand the circle for political participation and to win back over to local politics for people who are less educated and who have withdrawn from traditional information media such as newspapers.

Cost and efficiency

In order for the participation format to be used regularly, the efficiency per survey is crucial. With the new format, the survey of all around 90,000 Tübingen residents will cost EUR 5,000 per survey. The state of Baden-Württemberg has funded the format with EUR 72,000. The state was funded as part of the "Cities and Towns 4.0 - Future Communities" program.

Security and data protection

The process for the solution is coordinated with the State Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information in Baden-Württemberg. SySS GmbH, by its own account the market leader for simulated hacker attacks, will test the system for security gaps. The aim is to raise the hurdle for attackers as high as possible.

Sovereignty over the mission and goals

According to the statutes, sovereignty over the use of the app should lie with the municipal council. He decides the stake with a 2/3 majority. The municipal council also determines the final wording of the texts with a 2/3 majority. This is to guarantee balanced information for citizens with pros and cons. The declared aim is to give the local council a better basis for decision-making on groundbreaking political issues and to strengthen the citizens' acceptance of local democracy.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. dbb beamtenbund and tarifunion (ed.): Citizens' survey of the public service. Assessments, experiences and expectations 2014
  2. Dieter Grunow: Research results on the project “Citizens and Administration” at a glance, University of Duisburg-Essen , 2008
  3. Constance citizen survey ( Memento of the original from March 5, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Research project of the University of Konstanz and the City of Konstanz @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Jürgen Franke, Gerhard Fischer: The new Lower Saxony Municipal Constitutional Law (NKomVG) , January 14, 2011, p. 7. Available at the Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior and Sport under "Article on the Municipal Constitutional Law"
  5. Municipal constitution of the state of Brandenburg (BbgKVerf) of December 18, 2007 (GVBl.I / 07, [No. 19], p. 286) last amended by Article 4 of the law of July 10, 2014 (GVBl.I / 14, [ No. 32])
  6. ^ Results of the 2006 public survey on the location of a new state parliament in the state capital Potsdam
  7. Survey via app · PUBLICUS . In: PUBLICUS . February 1, 2018 ( [accessed April 23, 2018]).
  8. Voting app - a role model for more direct democracy? In: Deutschlandfunk . ( [accessed on April 23, 2018]).
  9. The facts in brief . In: neon yellow . ( [accessed April 23, 2018]). The facts in brief ( Memento of the original from April 24, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. FOCUS Online: City of Tübingen: Innovative Tübingen voting app is funded by the state . In: FOCUS Online . ( [accessed on April 23, 2018]).
  11. SySS GmbH. Retrieved April 23, 2018 .
  12. ^ Tübingen municipal council: Statute of citizens' surveys. In: City of Tübingen, October 17, 2017, accessed on April 23, 2018 .