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Transforming Government's Policy-making Processes

Keywords: transparency , participation , deliberation , policy-making , empowerment , engagement

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Abstract:

We have seen a lot of very welcome progress in terms of making it easier for citizens to input their views into government policy-making processes. However, governments and citizens are now in a similar situation – after a burst of initial enthusiasm, they are not sure what to do next. Governments have struggled to get the mass participation they would like and where significant participation has occurred, have had difficulty integrating it effectively into existing decision-making processes. Citizens have been unsure what to make of this new apparent openness and where they have engaged, have found it hard to know what difference their input made. The solution is to focus on using technology to make existing policy processes more transparent and more participative rather than creating separate e-participation initiatives. The challenge for governments is to open up the whole of the policy process and be prepared to flag up very clearly and explicitly the difference citizen input made. The challenge for e-democracy advocates is to convince policymakers that their ideas can improve the existing policy process rather than simply generating more inputs into it.

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