Civic Engagement - Citizen Report Cards
Citizen Report Cards are designed to raise citizen awareness and ultimately bring about reforms in the public service delivery system.

Civic Engagement - Citizen Report Cards

10 February 2015

We have developed a Civic Activism Awards Programme to allow Northern Ireland based voluntary, community or social enterprise organisations to bid for the opportunity to try out one of the 29 tools from the Tools Directory.

Today we look further at Citizen Report Cards (CRCs). 

CRCs are designed to raise citizen awareness and ultimately bring about reforms in the public service delivery system.

Where existing data is scarce, this participatory survey engages citizens in assessing public services, such as health, education and transport, for availability, access, usages, quality, cost and provisions.


The Public Affairs Centre (PAC) in India pioneered this idea in an effort to assess deteriorating standards in Bangalore’s public services.

Now CRCs tend to be used by governments, civil society organisations and donor agencies, but require commitment by the relevant public agencies to take forward actions based on the findings. Relationships with media partners are also vital to ensure that findings are widely disseminated.

More recently the California Report Card was developed through a partnership between the Democracy Initiative at UC Berkeley, the Lieutenant Governor of California, and CITRIS Data. It takes a slightly different approach to that of a traditional CRC, being based solely online, and with self-selecting participants.

Since its launch in January 2014, more than 9,000 people have visited to assign grades to a range of public services in their area, providing an overall map of responses across the state of California.

How can you do it?

There are four broad phases to a typical CRC:

Preparation: This includes identifying the scope (services being assessed), actors (recruiting credible partners) and purpose, designing the questionnaire, and agreeing on the sampling process (design, size and scope).

Data collection: Trained field workers are used to carry out the survey.

Data entry and analysis: This tends to involve the use of statistical software to support the analysis.

Presentation and dissemination of findings: A report is produced and publicised with the help of the media. This may be accompanied by a joint meeting between service providers and users to engender ongoing dialogue.

In some cases, steps may be taken to institutionalise CRCs as a regular source of feedback for service providers.

If you are interested in submitting an application for the Civic Activism Awards Programme in collaboration with others, but have not yet identified a suitable partner or partners, please click here to open a publicly accessible document where you can log your details and also browse information about other organisations who are also seeking partners to work with.

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