To enable citizens to submit anonymous complaints, suggestions or questions.
Community suggestions boxes allow citizens to submit anonymous suggestions, complaints or questions about a government service or facility, or about an organisation or private company. This informs the organisation about issues of concern to citizens and can help improve conditions and stop abuses, creating a safer environment for everyone.
Steps in the process
- The location of the suggestion box should be agreed by members of the community. Usually, it will need to be in an easily accessible location but with enough privacy for people to be able to post their comments anonymously.
- Often a committee is set up to manage the box and ensure that comments are considered carefully and responded to appropriately. As well as representatives of the organisation concerned, the committee will probably include community members and other stakeholders.
- Members of a community submit complaints, suggestions or questions. The anonymity of the process means that they do not need to fear reprisals in the case of complaints or serious allegations.
- The box is opened publicly at predetermined times (such as weekly).
- A response is provided to each suggestion. Prompt and genuine responses will build shared understanding and trust between rights holders and duty bearers.
- Comments that cannot be answered immediately may be forwarded as appropriate (a revelation of abuse might need to be dealt with by the police, for example).
Suggestions for use
- The use of suggestion boxes can be particularly helpful when there is a good grievance mechanism already in place.
- Where appropriate, a suggestion box may be supplemented with a mobile hotline, internet forum and/or interactive radio discussion.