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IPM: Interactive Policy Making


IPM (Interactive Policy-Making) is an application used to create and conduct surveys and public consultations. It was originally conceived to support the development of EU policies by helping enterprises and citizens to have their say on existing and new initiatives. Policy-makers can use IPM to take decisions and assess the impact of existing and future legislation.

In April 2001, the European Commission adopted a Communication on Interactive Policy-Making (IPM – C (2001)1014), the aim of which was to improve governance by using the internet to collect and analyse reactions from citizens and enterprises across the European Union. This initiative is now used by the European Commission to evaluate existing EU policies and to facilitate open consultations on new initiatives. With the IPM OSS (IPM Open Source release), businesses and private associations are given the opportunity to use this tool for their own needs.

Last update: November 2008

What is IPM?

IPM is a customisable open-source, web-based application (online survey management system).

It generates user-friendly questionnaires, making it easier both for respondents to participate and for policy-makers to analyse the results. Its user interface is currently translated into 20 languages. Moreover, each questionnaire can be translated into any of the 23 official languages of the EU.

IPM can serve various purposes:

• Public consultations over the web;
• Targeted or restricted stakeholder consultations;
• Panel surveys (see 'European Business Test Panel', a joint project between the European Commission and Member States   aimed at evaluating the impact of new legislative proposals on business);
• Satisfaction surveys (e.g. staff surveys);
• Support for reporting systems;
• Data entry systems (see SME feedback mechanism project []).

IPM has been used by 39 Commission's Directorates-General and Services to conduct 650 public consultations, which have generated more than 500.000 replies.

Since 2005, IPM has been distributed free of charge to some 20 Member State administrations.

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How does IPM work?

The IPM application has been built to support the survey process from its inception through to the analysis of the results.

  • Creation: The "form manager" defines the properties of his online questionnaire and designs the structure in terms of sections and questions, establishes the types of questions (radio buttons, check boxes, drop-down lists, free text boxes, etc.) and dependencies between questions;
  • Test: The questionnaire can be tested over a sample of users before publication;
  • Translation: A master Excel file (XML spreadsheet format) is extracted from IPM. The translation process is done off-line. As soon as they are ready, the translation files are uploaded to IPM;
  • Production: The questionnaire is launched and the URL address of the questionnaire is forwarded to potential respondents. Access to the questionnaire is either direct, or restricted by username/password;
  • Analysis of results: The "form manager" can view the results in real time. Raw results, percentages and histograms are available, a built-in filter mechanism allows the creation of subsets of results and data can be exported to Excel for further analysis.

 Other features

  • User administration: Creation of groups, users, assignment or privileges;
  • Registration forms: Feature for conducting surveys with the same sample of respondents;
  • Documentation: User manuals available for all modules;
  • Integration with CIRCABC: Survey results can be stored in CIRCABC (

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How to participate

How to participate in an online survey

You can participate in online consultations by accessing IPM through the ‘Your Voice in Europe’ portal at

Technical requirements

The application is web-based and does not require any specific client-side installation. A standard internet browser (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, etc. ) and an internet connection are the only requirements to use IPM. The user interface is being improved to become WAI-compliant.

How to obtain the IPM software

IPM OSS is offered free of charge through the EUPL 1.0 (European Union Public Licence). The EUPL is an open-source software licence approved by the Commission on 9 January 2007 as the licence to be used for the distribution of software developed within the framework of IDABC.
For more information about EUPL 1.0 :
To download IPM software and consult relative information :

How to become a member of the IPM developer community

By promoting the use of open-source software, IPM is in line with the activities of the Open Source Observatory. Becoming a member of the IPM developer community gives you the opportunity to give feedback and to help to improve this tool by sharing your experience.

Feel free to contact for further information about the IPM developer community.

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IPM has been developed to give voice to the opinions of citizens and enterprises about new policy initiatives and to help the EU institutions to enhance the impact assessment of existing legislation. IPM is intended to support all steps of the survey process.

The objective of the IPM OSS release is to make it an attractive tool for businesses or private associations that need to conduct surveys in their fields of activity.
Moreover, in the spirit of other OSS projects, IPM invites its users to play an active part in its developer community.

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About us

IPM is financed by the IDABC Programme and managed by a steering committee comprising DG MARKT (Directorate-General for the Internal Market), Eurostat (the Statistical Office of the European Communities) and DG DIGIT (Directorate-General for Informatics). DIGIT is responsible for coordinating development and the developer community. It hosts the application and provides helpdesk and support.

For further information, feel free to contact or visit

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Technical Information

Project start date


Project completion date


IDA budget

IDABC budget

€ 1.764.000

2005-2009 € 1.275.000

Responsible service

DG Informatics - DIGIT.A.3 EGIS

Project coordinator

Hans-Guenter KOHL


Countries involved

All EU Member States

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