The open-source platform VOLIS, created by the Estonian company "Andmevara", is a system for the municipality and other state institutions, which aims to ensure the transparency and efficiency of local government work, increase the involvement of the population in the decision-making process, and strengthen cooperation between the population and authorities.
This municipal voting system helps to moderate the meetings of the government and municipal councils, committees, and working groups, to register and administer the proposals submitted by the population, to conduct public surveys, and to manage the documents sent and received.
The main VOLIS user groups:
- Heads of government, municipal councils, committees, commissions, and other working groups;
- Members of the Government, municipal councils, committees, commissions, and other working groups;
- Administrative staff;
- Information systems administrator (s).
By connecting to the system, users confirm their identity with an electronic or mobile signature. They can see the information defined in the relevant legislation.
The municipal voting system allows to:
- Administer meetings: it provides an opportunity to prepare for the meeting, assists in the functions of a chairperson, forms the initial minutes of the meeting.
- Attend the meeting electronically or virtually: decision-makers can attend the meeting both physically and virtually. The person participating in the meeting can speak, discuss, ask questions, vote for the proposed resolutions online.
- Live broadcast, record, and review meetings: citizens connected to the system can not only watch the meetings directly but also participate in decision-making.
- Register and administer proposals submitted by residents: using the system, residents can send inquiries, register initiatives, vote for proposals submitted by other residents.
- Search and review the draft and approved legislation: during meetings, participants see the required documents on screen, eliminating the need to print them. Interoperability document management system, created by “Novian Technologies”, is used for viewing and editing documents.
- Organize population surveys: the system provides the ability to create surveys whose participants are guaranteed confidentiality.
Public and transparent decision-making promotes the public spirit of residents and increases the quality of decisions made. VOLIS has been used successfully in some Estonian municipalities and has also been tested in Sweden, the Netherlands, and Finland.