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Citizen involvement

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award

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Themen 2: Citizen involvement

By adapting private sector models of consumer involvement in business planning and delivery, but also by building on concepts of ‘open government’ - whereby the business of governments and state administrations is opened up at all levels for effective public scrutiny of oversights, as well as allowing involvement in planning and delivery of public services - public administrations have developed institutional and policy frameworks to promote transparency in government, access to information, consultation and ultimately involvement in making policy decisions.

In effect, building effective participative partnerships between governments, citizens and civil society organisations is at the heart of this approach and is demonstrated by various processes and systems designed to:

  • enhance openness, transparency and accountability;
  • enable consultation and feedback between administrations and citizens (and civil society);
  • share information, knowledge and experience;
  • and enable citizen involvement in debating, discussing, deciding on and evaluating governmental and public administrative decision making.

Some of the terms and areas which might be used to describe increasing citizen involvement include:

  • freedom/access to information;
  • citizen consultation systems;
  • public accountability and scrutiny;
  • eDemocracy and/or eParticipation;
  • direct and participatory forms of government;
  • participatory, consensus and/or grassroots democracy or policy making.

Ultimately, increased citizen involvement generally aims to increase community participation and social capital, improve service delivery, promote social inclusion/cohesion or address perceived democratic defcits. In essence, it is about moving from models of ‘government’ to models of ‘governance’.

This topic was looking for showcase projects based on how public administrations are meeting this new role in society by displaying citizen involvement in service design, production and/or delivery.

The projects under THEME 2 demonstrate the following aspects:

  • administrations that are moving from representative to more participatory democracy, whilst addressing issues of account-

ability and representativeness;

  • present systems designed to explore and incorporate a wide range of interested publics;
  • joint approaches to planning;
  • local communities being empowered to participate in policy making;
  • the strengthening of representative government to embrace

more direct forms of participatory democracy;

  • power imbalances being addressed between multiple stakeholders;

amending legislative provisions to facilitate citizen involvement;

  • improving and/or incentivising engagement of groups, such as young people, women and the disabled;
  • the support of citizen involvement through new technologies; enabling disadvantaged groups to participate in decision making;
  • and providing increased information and public scrutiny/accountability opportunities.