Members of the Birmingham MyNeighbourhood team joined EurActiv and manned a stand this week at DataDays 2014, a three-day conference held in Gent, Belgium, dedicated to the use of open data to improve city services.

Delegates were impressed to see that the MyNeighbourhood initiative had placed citizens and people at the heart of its approach to service innovation, rather than follow the traditional online platform implementation route. Common feedback from local government visitors to the stand was that today, more than ever they are under the pressure to deliver more for less, and therefore they are desperate for more creative and cost-effective ways to innovate.

Hans Vanmechelen, an ICT manager and policy advisor to the Flemish Government talked to the Birmingham Team and said he had been looking for an initiative just like MyNeighbourhood that would empower local communities to create the services they want and need. He works with a range of communities across the Flemish region and believed that the MyNeighbourhood approach could potentially be replicated in Flanders.

The MyNeighbourhood Team look forward to contacting Mr Vanmechelen, and other delegates after the event to take our discussions forward.

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