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DECIDO Project: Tools for Evidence-Based Policy Making

News from Feb. 21, 2024

Supporting evidence-based policy making with technologies for data analysis and co-creation: This was the aim of the EU project DECIDO, which developed a portal featuring cloud-based tools for linking public policies and datasets. DECIDO also empowered citizen engagement in this process and underwent testing by public authorities in Italy, Finland, Spain, and Greece. With the project now completed, its outcomes are being disseminated freely on an open-source platform.

Making decisions based on evidence, assessing policies and measuring their impact: Evidence-based policy making aims to ensure that political actions are effective and truly achieving predefined social objectives. To succeed in designing data-driven policies, there is a need for technical infrastructures and tools that provide public authorities with access to relevant datasets and assist in their interpretation. This includes tools for managing large datasets, as well as technologies for their analysis. However, the provision of such tools to policy makers and local administrations presents a significant challenge.

Over the past three years, Fraunhofer FOKUS and 14 project partners from across Europe have collaborated on the EU Horizon project DECIDO. Their goal was to enhance evidence- and data-based policy making by creating technologies, components, and methods to effectively link data with policy development. Hence, tools were designed to assist policy authorities in making well-informed choices based on reliable data. As a result, DECIDO services enable the integration of datasets throughout the entire policy lifecycle – from agenda setting and policy formulation to the implementation and evaluation of policies.

DECIDO-Portal offers a Toolbox for Data-Driven Policy Making

For this purpose, the project partners have developed a portal for the management of policies, aligning with the different phases of the policy lifecycle. Within this portal, public authorities have the opportunity to link their policies with data in their dedicated workspace (“policy labs”). Therefore, the DECIDO platform provides policy makers with a comprehensive toolkit to initiate, manage, and conclude data-driven public policies. The tools allow the users to gather, store and visualize data relevant to policy making processes. Additionally, the user can link the data to the different steps of the policy making process using the DECIDO portal. The DECIDO portal also features a survey tool that enables public authorities to digitally survey citizens and gather essential data.

At the same time, DECIDO is committed to involving citizens directly in political processes. Combining evidence-based policymaking with co-creation approaches therefore was a key part of the project. DECIDO allows to consistently include citizens and local communities in shaping policies, such as gathering feedback through a co-creation tool. This is aimed at ensuring a citizen-centric approach throughout the entire policy cycle.

To accomplish these objectives, the project partners developed their own applications while seamlessly integrating existing services and cloud infrastructures, such as the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). The EOSC provides European scientists with access to data and data processing services. By linking some of its tools with EOSC services (e.g. Check-in, Data-Hub, und Jupiter-Hub), DECIDO assists policy makers in utilizing established cloud infrastructures and data for informed decision-making.

DECIDO Tools Put to the Test Across Four European Cities and Regions

DECIDO's methods and tools were put to the test in four European cities and regions. The primary objective was to develop and evaluate disaster risk management policies. This included developing evacuation and prevention strategies for wild fires (Kajaani, Finland, and Aragon, Spain), improving the design of emergency policies related to floods and weather alerts (Turin, Italy), and refining emergency response mechanisms regarding power outage management of public infrastructure within Greek municipalities. These pilot initiatives actively engaged various stakeholders, including local authorities, emergency services, NGOs, and citizens.

Following the successful completion of the project, stakeholders can access the code for both backend and frontend components of the tools, along with deployment specifications, on the open-source platform GitLab. Fraunhofer FOKUS's Digital Public Services division designed the DECIDO portal, built its user interface and the data management tool, and was in charge of integrating the tools into the portal.