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What is...?

Explanations of different democracy and open government terms and concepts

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Published: February 16, 2017

Types of participation Involve's Pathways through Participation research, with NCVO and the Institute for Volunteering Research, found that people’s participatory activities fell into three main categories (although there are clearly many overlaps between them): Social participation: the collective activities that individuals are involved in, including being involved in formal voluntary organisations (e.g. volunteering for a charity…

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Public Participation

Published: March 3, 2017

Public participation is the engagement of individuals with the various structures and institutions of democracy, including voting, contacting a political representative, campaigning and lobbying, and taking part in consultations and demonstrations. IAP2's Public Participation Spectrum The International Association for Public Participation (IAP2)'s Public Participation Spectrum sets out five roles that the public can have in decision…

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Published: March 4, 2017

Facilitation is a process of enabling groups to work cooperatively and effectively together and which emphasises the involvement of all participants in a meaningful way. The word ‘facilitator’ comes from the Latin –facilitas, which roughly means ‘easiness’. Thus a facilitator is someone who works to make meetings and group interactions easier. Another way of looking…

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Deliberative public engagement

Published: February 21, 2017

Deliberation is an approach to decision-making that allows participants to consider relevant information from multiple points of view. Deliberation enables participants to discuss the issues and options and to develop their thinking together before coming to a view, taking into account the values that inform people's opinions. To be deliberative, a process must involve: discussion…

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Deliberative Systems Thinking

Published: February 16, 2017

What is deliberative systems thinking? Deliberative systems thinking is an approach to understanding and analysing democracy that is concerned with how different perspectives are represented and interact within society. Rather than focusing exclusively on the extent to which individuals and communities are represented within institutions, it is equally concerned with the range of views present and…

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Open Government

Published: February 16, 2017

What is open government? Open government is the simple but powerful idea that governments and institutions work better for citizens when they are transparent, engaging and accountable. Open government has three parts: Transparency – opening up of government data and information on areas such as public spending, government contracts, lobbying activity, the development and impact of policy,…

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Public engagement in public policy-making

Published: February 16, 2017

Engaging the public in policy-making is an important step. If it is not done well, it can damage the reputation not only of the specific policy initiative but of the organisations developing the policy. There are occasions when public engagement should not be undertaken. For example: if a decision has already effectively been made, and there is…

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