Extract from forthcoming OECD Report “From Open to Inclusive: Building Citizen –Centred Policy and services” Sound

principles can help guide practice 1. This section of the draft report provides OECD members and non members with a set of robust principles validated by comparative experience and international policy dialogue. They serve as a common basis upon which countries may draw when designing policies, programmes and measures for open and inclusive policy making and service delivery which are appropriate to their national context. 2. These principles are based on the “Guiding principles for successful information, consultation and active participation of citizens in policy-making” developed together with OECD member countries and published by the OECD in 2001. They have been reviewed, revised and updated in the light of OECD member country experience since then.1
Box 1. OECD PRINCIPLES FOR OPEN AND INCLUSIVE POLICY MAKING AND SERVICE DELIVERY (2008) OECD countries recognise that open and inclusive policy making and service delivery has both intrinsic value (by increasing government accountability, broadening citizens’ influence on decisions and building civic capacity) and instrumental value (by improving the evidence base for policy making, reducing implementation costs and tapping wider networks for innovation in policy making and service delivery). Experience has shown that a clear commitment to the intrinsic value of open and inclusive policy making is needed if governments are to reap the instrumental benefits they seek. These principles have been formulated to support government efforts to improve their practice of, and performance in, open and inclusive policy making and service delivery. 1. Commitment Leadership and strong commitment to open and inclusive policy making and service delivery is needed at all levels – from politicians, senior managers and public officials. 2. Rights Citizens’ rights to access information, be consulted and actively participate in policy making and service delivery must be firmly grounded in law or policy. Government obligations to respond to citizens when exercising their rights must also be clearly stated. Independent institutions for oversight, or their equivalent, are essential to enforcing these rights. 3. Clarity Objectives for, and limits to, access to information, consultation and public participation during policy making and service delivery should be well defined from the outset. The respective roles and responsibilities of people, stakeholders, elected representatives and public servants must be clear to all. Government information should be complete, objective, reliable, relevant, easy to find and understand. 4. Time Public consultation and active participation should be undertaken as early in the policy process as possible when all options are still open to allow a greater range of policy solutions to emerge and to raise the chances of successful implementation. Adequate time must be available for consultation and participation to be effective. The relative merits of single, time-bound initiatives versus ongoing deliberative processes which can build sustainable relationships over time should be considered. 5. Inclusion All citizens should have equal opportunities to access information, be consulted and participate through their channel of choice (i.e. online and offline). Every reasonable effort should be made to engage with as wide a variety of people as possible, demonstrating respect for their contributions, perspectives and values. 6. Resources Adequate financial, human and technical resources are needed if public information, consultation and
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Citizens as Partners: Information, Consultation and Public Participation in Policy Making (2001), Paris: OECD, p. 15.

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participation in policy-making and service delivery are to be effective. Government officials must have access to appropriate skills, guidance and training as well as an organisational culture that supports their efforts to use both traditional and online tools. 7. Co-ordination Initiatives to inform, consult and engage citizens and civil society organisations should be co-ordinated among central government units and, where possible, across levels of government to ensure policy coherence, avoid duplication and reduce the risk of “consultation fatigue” among citizens and civil society organisations. Co-ordination efforts should not stifle initiative and flexibility but should leverage the power of knowledge networks and communities of practice within and outside government. 8. Accountability Governments have an obligation to inform participants of how they use inputs received through public consultation and participation. Measures to ensure that the policy-making process is open, transparent and amenable to external scrutiny and review can help increase accountability of, and trust in, government. 9. Evaluation Governments need to evaluate their own performance in providing information, conducting consultation and engaging citizens. To do so effectively will require efforts to build the demand, capacity, culture and tools for public participation evaluation. 10. Active citizenship Societies benefit from active citizens and a dynamic civil society, and governments can take concrete actions to facilitate access to information, encourage participation, raise awareness, strengthen citizens’ civic education and skills, as well as to support capacity-building among civil society organisations. Recognising the autonomous problemsolving capacity of citizens, civil society organisations and businesses will require governments to explore new roles to effectively support such initiatives.

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