Commitment 4: Enhance Citizen Engagement in Policy Making

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To build capacity within public offices to engage citizens in policy making in a way that is accessible and meaningful, with the ultimate objective of leading to better outcomes and greater understanding.

Objective: To build capacity and help to create a culture of openness and responsiveness to the citizen in policy making across the public sector.

Status quo: Ireland’s first Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, 2014-2016, acknowledged that citizen participation requires accessible and timely information about policy and service development proposals, clear ways to engage with policy makers, and a culture of openness on the part of the public service. Updated guidance on consulting the public was prepared under the National Action Plan. In addition, one of the aims of the Civil Service Renewal Plan is to ‘promote a culture of innovation and openness by involving greater external participation and consultation in policy development’. A series of Open Policy Debates has been established for a range of policy areas. It promotes regular open discussion, early on in the policy development process. It allows a wide range of academics and practitioners to hear informed, expert, opposing and challenging views.

Many helpful suggestions were made in the submissions received as part of the process to draft this Action Plan. The milestones set out below to fulfil this commitment aim to address the shortcomings identified in those submissions and advance the ideas for improvements.

Ambition: To promote meaningful citizen engagement in policy making and in turn to increase the legitimacy of decision-making, improve the public’s knowledge and awareness of complex policy challenges, help decision-makers to make better decisions, and lead to better policies and improvements in the quality of service provision.

Lead implementing organisations: Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Timeline: January 2017 to June 2018

Commitment 4:

Enhance Citizen Engagement in Policy Making

OGP values

Civic participation

New or ongoing commitment

Ongoing

Lead implementation organisations

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Other actors involved - government

All government departments and public bodies

Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil the commitment

New or ongoing

Start date

End date

Create a Consultation Portal. This will act as a central repository for public consultations. It will make consultations easier to engage with and promote best practice in how they are run. It will contribute to the evaluation and monitoring of citizen engagement efforts.

New

January 2017

June 2017

The Civil Service Learning and Development Project Team will ensure that an awareness of best practice in external engagement and consultation is embedded in relevant training modules of the new curriculum, including Policy Making, Communications, Change Management and Project Management.

New

December 2016

March 2017

Create a practitioners network to support citizen engagement. This will be used to gather and share best practice and innovations in citizen engagement, including the provision of accessible information on key policy issues and ‘legislative footprints’ on current legislative initiatives.

New

December 2016

March 2017

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs will establish a Children and Young People’s Participation Hub, as a national centre for excellence on the participation of children and young people. The Hub will support Government departments and other organisations by providing training, developing good practice toolkits and supporting organisations to effectively involve children and young people in decision-making, including young children and those who are seldom heard.

Ongoing

 

June 2017

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