What is the impact of participation?

Evidence of the impact of public participation


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Benefits and costs of public participation

Published: March 7, 2017

Benefits of public participation The benefits of participation are often considered to be: Improved governance, including increased democratic legitimacy for institutions because of close links with citizens, improved reputations for public bodies, increased opportunities for active citizenship, and greater accountability of public bodies because of more effective information dissemination and better dialogue. Greater social cohesion…

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Efficiency and effectiveness of services, projects and programmes 

Published: March 7, 2017

The benefits of participation here tend to be based on findings that conventional, externally driven and expert-led services, projects and programmes to tackle complex problems (e.g. health, urban decay, poverty and inequality, agricultural productivity, environmental management), have often failed to achieve the significant long-term effects sought (e.g. OECD 2001, Hastings et al. 1996); often because…

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Quality and legitimacy of decision-making

Published: March 7, 2017

Modern decision-making takes place in a complex, constantly changing context that demands different ways of making and implementing decisions. Traditional values of respect for authority and expertise have diminished generally in Western society, and perceptions of increased risk (often highly individualised and dangerously unquantifiable (Beck 1992), lack of trust and uncertainty, characterise relationships between government…

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Citizenship and governance

Published: March 7, 2017

The participation literature has increasingly focused on the citizenship aspects of participation, particularly the 'rights and responsibilities' that citizenship entails (Jones and Gaventa 2002; Home Office 2004). People respond differently depending on whether they are acting as consumers or citizens or co-producers (and look for different benefits): Consumers / customers are the direct and indirect…

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Costs of public participation

Published: March 7, 2017

There is far less literature on the costs of participation than the benefits, although there is material on the dangers, risks etc. Against the tide of a generally positive view of participation, political commentators are beginning to criticise participation as an expensive waste of time and money and as increasing the risk of pressure from…

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