Everyone has a right to rest and relaxation
The right to rest and leisure is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Flemish Government makes safeguarding this right one of its high priorities. Due to the energy crisis and other factors, it is becoming harder and harder for certain population groups to include leisure activities in their budget.
For that reason, partnerships have been set up with Iedereen verdient Vakantie [Everyone Deserves Vacations], Rap op Stap [Up and Away/Horizon], Flanders Tourism and other parties offering leisure activities and vacations. The objective is clear: to ensure that citizens on a limited budget can also go on vacation, take day trips and enjoy sports and cultural activities.
These citizens can already contact Rap op Stap, a travel agency for people on a limited budget. Currently, people entitled to this discount must physically go to a Rap op Stap office via designation by a local community worker or social worker. At the agency, online resources will be checked to verify that the applicant qualifies for the discount.
Further lowering the threshold through technology
For some, going to a Rap op Stap office is too high a threshold; others are simply unaware that they are entitled to the discounts offered by this organization. This explains why in 2021, only 150,000 of the 800,000 citizens entitled to take advantage of the offer actually did so. The hackathon revolved around the challenge of ensuring that more of the eligible citizens benefit from these discounts.
Since the award is made on the basis of data available online, it was clear to our team that it would be ideal for the approval to take place automatically via the My Citizen Profile platform. After all, automating the inquiry would ensure that rightful applicants would not have to submit a request, but would simply obtain the discount immediately and automatically when they booked a ticket or vacation.
This process, where citizens no longer have to physically visit a Rap op Stap office, saves them a lot of energy, gives them ownership and offers a more user-friendly and less stigmatizing experience. At the same time, automation frees up space in the Rap op Stap office for valuable personal services for those citizens who cannot use or are uncomfortable using digital interfaces, thus maintaining 100% inclusiveness.
Together for greater (e-)inclusion
In order to put the hackathon’s idea into practice, our team has drawn up a clear list of the criteria for discount entitlement in order to know which sources to consult. They developed a script to send a code to the My Citizen Profile platform via a link to the sources. In addition, they’ve designed a user-friendly navigation within My Citizen Profile to allow someone who is logged in to automatically receive the discount and to order a vacation, day trip or other tickets in a simple, convenient way.
After two days of hard work on the case, it was time to pitch how developing an ecosystem around the municipalities, Iedereen verdient Vakantie, Rap op Stap, Flanders Tourism and the leisure providers, based on the My Citizen Profile and Solid applications, will provide a broader reach and higher (e-)inclusion. This yielded great results. Meanwhile, the first steps have already been taken to turn the conceptual exercise into a concrete project!