Improvement of Mechanisms for Social Participation in the Formulation of Public Policies (BR0075)
to improve and enhance mechanisms for social participation in the formulation of public policies through the establishment of references and general recommendations and the articulation of the existing mechanisms. These actions shall increase the effectiveness of forums for participation and of the public policies themselves.
IRM End of Term Status Summary
Commitment 3.7. Improvement of Mechanisms for Social Participation in the formulation of Public Policies
Commitment Text: To improve and enhance mechanisms for social participation in the formulation of public policies through the establishment of references and general recommendations and the articulation of the existing mechanisms. These actions shall increase the effectiveness of forums for participation and of the public policies themselves.
Responsible institution: General Secretariat of the Presidency
Supporting institution: None
Start date: Not specified End date: 14 December 2014
This commitment aimed to enhance mechanisms for social participation in the formulation of public policies by developing a model regulation for all participatory practices at the General Secretariat of the Presidency.
Decree 8.243/2014 was published on 23 May 2014.[Note 96: Presidency of the Republic, Decree Nº 8.243, 23 May 2014, http://bit.ly/1mwQCgG. ] It instituted the National Policy for Social Participation and the National System for Social Participation, both to improve channels for social participation and provide better cohesion between existing channels. It contained general guidelines for Public Policy Councils, conferences, and ombudsmen, and could be used to justify other methods of participation, such as e-participation and open data standards.
Did it open government?
Civic participation: Marginal
The commitment did not necessarily propose new mechanisms of civic participation, but sought to institutionalise existing practices and promote their adoption at the state and municipal levels. It should be noted that the decree was published by the executive branch, and that the lower chamber passed an instrument to void the Decree's effect[Note 97: Projeto de Decreto Legislativo, 1491/14, https://goo.gl/BGhxmH.]. Nonetheless, due to the fact that it was later submitted for discussion of the plenary, the Decree is still valid legislation.
The decree was developed in a participatory manner through Participa.br in May 2014.[Note 98: Arena da Participação Social, Planalto da República, 2014, http://goo.gl/25RMpd.] However, there was strong legislative opposition to it when it was published by the president. This led to a national debate in the media and among civil society organisations and other important policy players as to the pros and cons of such legislation. The public response to the decree was polarised. For example, the Brazilian Network for the Integration of Peoples, the Brazilian Interdisciplinary AIDS Association, the Brazilian Association of Non-Governmental Organisations, and the Brazilian Foreign Policy and Human Rights Committee all signed a memorandum in support of the decree,[Note 99: Jornal GGN, “Em nota, entidades repudiam derrubada do decreto 8243 pela Câmara,” 4 November 2014, http://bit.ly/2jj3L1L. ] while major newspapers published opinion pieces against the law.[Note 100: Estadão, “Mudança de regime por decreto,” 29 May 2014, http://bit.ly/13EYoln. ] Following the vigorous debate, the legislature voided the decree. The commitment did make a marginal contribution to civic participation in so far as it spurred the approval of similar policies at other levels of government. The city of São Paulo, for example, passed such a decree at the municipal level,[Note 101: Coordenação de Política Municipal de Participação Social, https://goo.gl/LfivJl. ] which it used to support its candidacy for the OGP subnational pilot program. Another such decree was also approved by the State of São Paulo.[Note 102: ALESP, “Assembleia aprova Política Estadual de Participação Social,” http://www.al.sp.gov.br/noticia/?id=360867. ]
This commitment was carried forward to Brazil’s third action plan. In the new plan, the government commits to improving social participation by launching a portal in collaboration with civil society, and improving tools for participation, particularly at the local level. Moving forward, the IRM researcher recommends reconciling the differing points of view of the legislature and judiciary to systematise participation mechanisms.