Consul is an e-government and e-participation digital platform software originally developed for the Madrid City government. The main principles on which the platform is based are: open participation, transparency, the combination of online and offline participation, and citizen empowerment. The platform helps to manage the complexity of participation, which is often a challenging task for councils. The platform brings government closer to the citizenry by opening up direct participatory channels for policy making.
Consul allows citizens to be an active part of the city government by offering them different kinds of participatory mechanisms for direct democracy, deliberation and other collaborative political practices. Consul allows users to launch collective debates, to propose and support proposals, to organise physical meetings, to run citizen surveys, to organise votes on how investment should be distributed, or to write laws in a collaborative way. In summary, a key value has been to integrate several functionalities into the same digital participatory platform.
It is one of the tools related to collaborative policy making from the D-CENT Toolbox (Decentralised Citizens ENgagement Technologies). Its objective is to enable citizens to participate in the policy making process using collaborative online platforms. The application backend is written in the Ruby language using the Ruby on Rails framework and it is freely distributed under an Affero GPL v3 license.