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Citizen involvement

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award

Performance Improvement in Public Service Delivery | Citizen Involvement | New Forms of Partnership Working | Leadership and Management for Change


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.

Award winners

ProjectsCountryOrganisationLevel of governmentSectorShort english description
Cologne participatory budgetGermanyCity of CologneLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe goal was to provide understandable and comprehensive information about the budget, raise awareness among the population about the complex topic, enrich budget consultancies by additional input from the citizens enhance the transparency on budget related matters and generally establish an improved communication between the administration and the citizens

Award nominees

ProjectsCountryOrganisationLevel of governmentSectorShort english description
Citizen involvement in Ghent: Ledeberg leeft!BelgiumStad GentLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe integrated goals are to achieve more accessible green spaces, better living quality, better and more active service delivery, smoother and safer traffic, and more spaces for meeting with people
Ragazzi in aulaItalyPiedmont Regional CouncilRegional levelEducation (higher and lower), training and learning‘Ragazzi in Aula’ allows students to experience first hand what it means to be a councillor, by being involved in debates, discussions, decisionmaking processes, as well as the proposal of new laws
Gdynia Civic SectorPolandGdynia City Hall (Mayor’s Office)Local levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformGdynia offers every citizen the chance to decide, by stating on their tax document, which NGO they may wish to donate to. The solutions adopted in Gdynia have been recognised as model solutions by many Polish local governments as well as the central authorities
Governance plan of Cantabria 2008-2011SpainRegional Government of CantabriaRegional levelEducation (higher and lower), training and learningThe project consists of a set of programmes that have been designed by the Regional Government of Cantabria to enhance citizen’s participation and transparency in public management

Best practice award winners

ProjectsCountryOrganisationLevel of governmentSectorShort english description
Standards of public participation, recommendations for good practiceAustriaAustrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water ManagementNational levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe ‘Standards of Public Participation’ professionalise the process of public involvement and thereby raise the quality of the process, and by this, its result
Kaufbeuren - aktivGermanyStadtverwaltung KaufbeurenLocal levelEducation (higher and lower), training and learningVisible results of projects that were mutually implemented by citizens provide additional value for the society and raise their creative potential (e.g. creation of a nature trail, designing and raising a monument, restoration of a railway underpass)
Better and more in public administrationHungaryNorth-Plain Regional Labour CentreRegional levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformTo accomplish an effective quality management activity we established a working group independent of the organisational hierarchy, led by the quality management director who reports directly to the Director-General
Neighbourhood consultation action and involvement of citizensRomaniaCity Hall of TimişoaraLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformNeighbourhood consultative councils are non-political, non-profit organisations for citizens, formed by volunteers acting to improve the quality of life in their communities.
NHS North Lancashire affiliate schemeUnited KingdomNHS North LancashireLocal levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsThe end result is a scheme that offers local residents the opportunity to be genuinely involved in their local healthcare at a level to suit their needs and personal requirements

Award submissions

ProjectsCountryOrganisationLevel of governmentSectorShort english description
Egosta (e-government stakeholder involvement)AustriaAustrian Federal Ministry of FinanceNational levelTaxation, customs, financesThis project aims to develop and test ‘egosta’ within the context of the VCD. By using an internet platform, stakeholders can support the development process
MyHelpAustriaFederal Chancellery of AustriaNational levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe main goals of MyHELP are the personalisation and regionalisation of topics, authorities and forms
Energy neighbourhoodsBelgiumFundacion Comunidad Valenciana - Region EuropeaEnvironment, climate change, agriculture (incl. food safety) and fisheryDirect results of the project were energy savings
AgoraBelgiumMinistry of the French CommunityRegional levelSports, youth, culture and artThe AGORA group was created following the General Report on Poverty, which highlighted these difficulties.
Citizen involvement for more effective decisionsBulgariaStara Zagora MunicipalityLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe main goal of this initiative is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the decision-making process at local level through the involvement of citizens.
Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) concerning hydrocarbon activities within the exclusive economic zone of the republic af cyprusCyprusMinistry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism (Energy Service), Republic of CyprusNational levelEnvironment, climate change, agriculture (incl. food safety) and fisheryThe Environmental Report presents the findings of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the hydrocarbon licensing programme within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus
Service volontaire citoyen de la police nationaleFranceFrench Ministry of Interior -Public Safety Central HeadquartersNational levelJustice, police, human rights and securityThe French Ministry of the Interior decided to endow the national police with a civic reserve known as "service volontaire citoyen".
GeoPortal.rlpGermanyCompetence and Business Centre GDI-RP (KGSt. GDI-RP)Regional levelInformation society, technology, media and audiovisualIt plays a very important role in the e-Government policy of this State of the Federal Republic of Germany
Motivating the population to cope with demographic changeGermanyGemeinde IllingenLocal levelotherA special-subject meeting on the integration of the disabled and the establishment of an integrative centre for the digitisation of files (DSI) are unique measures in the Saarland
Bringing the Gothenburg and Lisbon principles to the attention of pupils in secondary educationGreeceRegion of EpirusRegional levelRegional policy and development, decentralisationOne of the objectives of the project is to communicate European & national priorities derived from the Gothenburg and Lisbon principles.
Calderoni online database frameworkHungaryHungarian Institute for Educational Research and DevelopmentNational levelEducation (higher and lower), training and learningAs a result of joint thinking the Calderoni Programme can be completed by several new elements, which may contribute to monitoring the processes of Bologna developments in higher education
Power-Portali web 2.0 partecipativi per L'Emilia RomagnaItalyCity of BolognaRegional levelInformation society, technology, media and audiovisualThe Power project aims to create and to evaluate an open source application for e-Democracy empowerment (access, literacy and inclusion), the innovation of the front offices and the services’ supply channels
MappaTOItalyCity of TurinLocal levelInformation society, technology, media and audiovisualMappaTO functionalities are: Categorising city points of interest, paths and areas; Providing and sharing categorised thematic maps; Giving citizens the chance to publish and share their own maps; Encouraging user collaboration and other users’ map building; Exporting maps to Google Earth and TomTom systems.
GeoCivit@sItalyComune di NovaraLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformFor this reason, the GeoCivit@s project proposes to computer users, even those less experienced (the majority), a type of perfectly usable information that is simple, timely, reliable, easily interpretable and understandable
Social responsibility in local governmentItalyComune di San Giuliano TermeLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformIt aims to utilise methods of exposition and language that are as direct and informal as possible by trying at the same time to combine precision in providing information, the culture of quantitative data and absence of vagueness
Cisternino 2020ItalyLivorno MunicipalityLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe starting point of the project was to encourage the emergence of plural divergent voices - to listen to them and to encourage the participants to manage conflict creatively
With the citizen and for the citizenItalyMunicipality of Genova - Permanent Observatory of QualityLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformIt allows operators to better comprehend the usefulness of their role and purpose of their efforts, to develop a positive attitude towards supporting and helping those who express a need, and to find gratification in receiving feedback from citizens
Complaint frot office for service qualityItalyMunicipality of MilanLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe website offers online services and exhaustive information about the sectors in which the body operates. The contact centre and the front office are the two indirect ways of communicating, thanks to an operator and/or facilitator.
Future managing classesItalyProvincia Regionale di SiracusaLocal levelRegional policy and development, decentralisationThe founding principles of the Provincial Administration are respect for the history, culture and traditions of the province. Other values include justice, freedom, solidarity, international cooperation and initiatives that focus on citizens’ rights
Res publicaItalyProvincia di GenovaLocal levelEnvironment, climate change, agriculture (incl. food safety) and fisheryThe aim is to involve policymakers, public and private market actors, research organisations and citizens in the promotion of Renewable Energy Resources (RES) and the Rational Use of Energy(RUE) at local level
Terzo venetoItalyRegional Parliament of VenetoRegional levelRegional policy and development, decentralisationThe platform provides users with a range of online services in order to manage, organise and launch initiatives aimed at promoting participation, as well as coordinating and cooperating in the assessment and organisation of initiatives for citizens and animating the local political and social debate.
Routes, the way to integrationItalyVeneto LavoroRegional levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformIn this context, the Routes Project has outlined and submitted to the attention of the European Commission a set of recommendations and, more importantly, a ‘module for regional governance of integration policies’, which in fact tries to respond to the abovementioned points
Improvement of of alytus college through modernisation and improvement of studies infrastructureLithuaniaAlytus CollegeRegional levelEducation (higher and lower), training and learningAlytus College is a state institution of higher education operating in the Southern Lithuania region. It was the first college in Lithuania accredited at national level.
Nature management in the area of the Kupa River ValleyLithuaniaKupiskis District Municipality AdministrationLocal levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe project helped to solve a large number of nature management problems, it provided background for implementing recreational routes and infrastructure to facilitate the most interesting recreation areas and to establish conditions for recreation and improving the health of the local population, i.e. it provided the background for further stages in the project
Centralised system of acceptance, registration and investigation of consumer complaintsLithuaniaState Food and Veterinary Service (SFVS)National levelPublic health and social welfare/affairsAmong the key tasks of the service is assurance of food safety and quality control at all the stages of food handling (including rearing plants and animals intended for the production of food, the safety of drinking water and the supply of food to consumers).
Waste monitoring projectLithuaniaVilnius City AdministrationLocal levelEnvironment, climate change, agriculture (incl. food safety) and fisheryThe main objectives of the project are to: Collect and save data about Vilnius city regions and waste transporters; Register citizens’ complaints concerning the city’s waste management; Monitor activities of all institutions concerning waste recycling and cleaning and entering the data into an external database; Draft reports concerning waste cleaning and recycling
Multi-annual project of the charter of European rural communitiesNetherlandsMunicipality of HaarenLocal levelRegional policy and development, decentralisationThe Charter of European Rural Communities is an agreement between small villages from every country of the EU, under the motto ‘People meet people
A day 'Never to forget'NetherlandsMunicipality of HeerhugowaardLocal levelEmployment, labour related affairs and gender equalityThe main aim of the project was to gain more insight into the problems and environment of citizens with severe (social and financial) problems
Joint commission of territorial and economic self-governmentPolandMarshal’s Office of the Małopolska RegionRegional levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe project significantly facilitates mutual communication and exchange of opinions between self-governments as well as the identification and solution of ongoing problems related to economic growth
Cooperation of craftsmen and merchants in assessment and collection of taxesPolandTax Office in SierpcRegional levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformParticipation of citizens in planning and decision-making reduces the risk of misunderstandings
Transparent RomaniaRomaniaAgency for Governmental Strategies (AGS)National levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThe target of the ‘Transparent Romania’ programme is the functional partnership between administration and citizens - by elaborating and adopting normative acts, taking consistent and beneficial decisions in the public interest, drastically reducing corruption and eventually establishing effective administrative practices
Transparency and participation in public administrationRomaniaNational Agency of Civil Servants, Ministry of Administration and InteriorNational levelPublic administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reformThus the purpose of the project was to increase the role of society in promoting the principles of good governance and participation of citizens in the decisionmaking process at local level
Voice: Giving European people a voice in EU legislationSpainDirección General de ModernizaciónInformation society, technology, media and audiovisualVoicE promotes the dialogue between citizens and their EU decisionmakers and other political stakeholders in the field of consumer protection in two regions: the Valencia region in Spain and Baden-Württemberg in Germany
INTECO web messengerSpainINTECO - Spanish National Institute of Communication TechnologiesNational levelInformation society, technology, media and audiovisualInstant messaging allows the client to communicate with other people, deciding what they want to show of themselves
Reference centre on accessibility and web standardsSpainINTECO - Spanish National Institute of Communication TechnologiesNational levelInformation society, technology, media and audiovisualThe aim of this is to enable them to provide access for all users by exploring new ways to improve citizen participation and the establishment of a more interactive relationship between citizens and their political representatives via government websites
Malmö Stad - Demokratisningar I MÅNGA ledSwedenMalmö stad City of MalmöLocal levelRegional policy and development, decentralisationMalmö Municipality, with its special ethnic profile, has joined with the international programme the European coalition of cities against racism and the European Declaration on Equality.