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Start date: Nov 30, 2003, End date: Sep 29, 2007 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Many public services suffer low take-up, particularly by those with special needs or living in rural areas, because they are deployed with an eye to efficiency rather than users’ needs. The objective of the four year Citizens First project is to redress this trend by exploring the opportunities ICT offers to put citizens at the centre of service provision. Citizens First seeks to achieve this goal by engaging with regional communities, empowering residents to shape service delivery in a way that will improve citizens’ quality of life by reducing their social and spatial isolation. The 3.957m euro project’s specific objectives include research into how ICT can overcome the digital divide that holds back the life chances of citizens from the five, thinly populated rural areas participating in the project. It will examine and pilot new and existing channels of service delivery, such as physical/virtual one stop shops. Each partner region will set up and operate pilot projects designed to explore how ICT services can be used to empower citizens. Ireland’s Mid-West Regional Authority will pilot the ICT enabled, citizen-centric delivery of integrated services to rural communities through the establishment of both physical and virtual local One Stop Shops. Achievements: The CitizenFirst Project rolled out a series of successful bottom-up approaches to ICT and services delivery. We have created a set of 21 Fiches/Guidelines how approaches how to increase Citizen Interaction in the Information Society, how to make citizens and communities see the uses and benefits of ICT in their lives and as a result improved public service delivery to various degrees across the North West Europe Regions. We have also involved more traditionally excluded groups of people in the Information Society, such as the disabled, disadvantaged, elderly, youth and ethnic minorities. Some of the main conclusions of the 4.5 years implementation of CitizenFirst include: More bottom-up approach to services provision is essential if significant/required take-up is to be achieved. Certain services require a combination of both top-down and bottom-up.

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