The Washington-based Public Technology Institute (PTI) has launched an initiative to promote city and county governments' use of multi-channel citizen contact and service delivery systems, such as Citizen Relationship Management systems and 311 call centers. PTI's Citizen-Engaged Community designation program aims to encourage more public participation in government performance management and reporting.

The initiative will identify best practices for using multi-channel contact centers, develop and disseminate a roadmap for using the centers to improve citizen engagement, and recognize citizen-engaged communities with official seals on the city or county Web site that will be in effect for two years. "Multi-channel contact has become the face of government to the public," said PTI Executive Director Alan Shark in a statement. "This designation program will challenge all local governments to achieve high standards in service delivery, citizen participation and government accountability as set by government and the community."

The New York-based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is funding the start up of the program, which is expected to become self-sustaining after its second year through local government and private industry support. More information on the program is available at www.pti.org.