Create methodology to engage civil society in participatory processes (CZ0033)
Action Plan: Czech Republic Action Plan 2020-2022
Action Plan Cycle: 2020
Lead Institution: Ministry of Justice, Office of the Government of the Czech Republic
Support Institution(s): State actors involved ministries and other central administration bodies, selfgoverning territorial units CSOs, private sector, multilaterals, working groups Working group for the creation of the Strategy towards nongovernmental non-profit organizations for 2021–2030 o Working sub-group for participation and partnership
Policy AreasPandemic Response, Public Participation, Sustainable Development Goals
What is the public problem that the commitment will address? During the development of the Strategy for Non-Governmental Non-Profit Organizations for 2021–2030, inconsistencies were identified in the way ministries and other central administration bodies, as part of the process of participation of civil society, such as non-governmental non-profit organizations (“NGPOs”), ensure the participation of representatives of civil society in participatory processes and the appointment of persons to individual working groups, advisory bodies or expert panels, whether they are permanent or ad hoc participatory processes. The absence of a uniform methodology in this case does not contribute to sufficient and effective communication between the government sector and civil society and also leads to non-transparency and thus potentially to a reduction in the credibility of the results achieved and participatory processes themselves. At present, the risk of certain "monopolization" of participation in participatory processes remains unaddressed, when ministries or other central administration bodies are allowed to repeatedly select only a narrow group of entities with which they have previously cooperated and with which they have good experience. This practice may pose the risk of not utilizing the full potential of participatory processes or of creating unjustified barriers to access for those entities that do not normally engage in participatory processes. Last but not least, the absence of a clear methodology may lead to lesser use of participatory processes in places where a certain level of public consultation is mandatory or where the voluntary use of participatory processes would be beneficial. Among other things, the methodology aims to introduce new methods of public involvement in public processes, which could motivate their use. It offers, for instance, the use of videoconferencing with representatives of the non-governmental sector or the use of so-called target groups for consultations on upcoming projects.
What is the commitment? Contribute to the creation of a functioning methodological environment for participatory processes. The specific goal is to use the principles of co-creation and participation after its Page 18 (of 24) incorporation into the strategic framework of the government towards NGPO in order to create a methodology for ministries and other central administration bodies for the participation of representatives of civil society1 in participatory processes and subsequently to introduce this methodology into practice within individual ministries and central administration bodies. As part of the implementation in practice, the first step will be at least the introduction of the methodology in the form of a pilot project.
How will the commitment contribute to solving the public problem? The commitment will lead to more efficient use of participatory processes in the creation of public policies, strategic materials, legislative and other non-legislative materials by individual ministries and other central administration bodies. In individual cases of the use of participatory processes, it will no longer be necessary to make efforts to create the necessary processes from the scratch, but it will be possible to use the procedures already prepared, experience gained and model created. At the same time, by making the use of participatory processes more efficient and reducing their complexity, this should lead to their wider use. The wider use of participatory processes should subsequently increase the effectiveness of the measures taken on the basis of these processes and at the same time reduce the risk of wasteful use of funds if the measures taken are set inappropriately or without sufficient knowledge of possible intended or unintended impacts not only on civil society. The use of participatory processes already within the framework of creating the methodology will allow to set this methodology sufficiently inclusively, so as allow the widest possible involvement of civil society, sufficiently generally, so as to be usable in the widest possible number of situations, but at the same time sufficiently practically and understandably, so as to be usable to users only with minor adjustments based on the specific context. The methodology will not neglect the issue of equal representation of women and men. The foreign experience of the OGP member states will be widely used to set up this initial process (preparation of the methodology). 1 There is a wide range of definitions of this term, however, for our purposes, one of the broadest and most general definitions will suffice, which a priori does not exclude any relevant groups: '[…] civil society is a term used to describe the space between the area of private interests and the state. It is an area of voluntary association outside the sphere of the market, the state and private life, in which we consider the common interconnectedness of the world.” RAKUŠANOVÁ, Petra. Povaha občanské společnosti v České republice v kontextu střední Evropy. Prague: Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, 2007. Sociological dissertations. ISBN 978-80-7330-122-4. p. 30. Page 19 (of 24) The methodology will also respond to the new situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will contain rules for effective communication between the government sector and civil society during crisis and emergency situations, which will ensure the proportionality between the universal right to health and other fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.
Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values? The commitment is inherently related to the value of civic participation since it clarifies the possible ways in which civil society representatives should be ensured part in participatory processes. As part of the effective involvement of individual persons in participatory processes under the value of transparency, the amount and quality of information available to civil society will also increase. The commitment relates to the value of accountability rather indirectly since civil society representatives, who will be involved in participatory processes on the basis of the methodology developed, will be better able to assess how the government sector has used the knowledge and suggestions obtained and how they were implemented into practice compared to the initial assumptions.
Additional information International commitments and recommendations: The commitment contributes to the implementation of the OECD Council Recommendation on Open Government of 14 December 2017, by which the Czech Republic is bound. The commitment contributes to the following UN Sustainable Development Goals: o 16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels o 17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, public-private, and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships Link to other conceptual, strategic and methodological documents: Strategy towards non-governmental non-profit organizations for 2021–2030 (in preparation); Government Anti-Corruption Conception for 2018 to 2022 – priority area Transparency and open access to information; Methodology for public involvement in the preparation of government documents (Ministry of the Interior, 2009); Guidelines for involvement in the preparation of government documents (Ministry of the Interior, 2010); Methodology for preparation of public strategies (Ministry for Regional Development, 2019). Page 20 (of 24)
Milestone activity with a verifiable deliverable Start date: End date: Enshrining the methodology within the Strategy towards non-governmental non-profit organizations for 2021–2030 (implementing agency: Office of the Government of the Czech Republic) 1. 11. 2020 30. 4. 2021 Creating the methodology in accordance with the principles of participation and co-creation (implementing agency: Ministry of Justice) 30. 4. 2021 31. 12. 2021 Putting the methodology into practice within the participatory processes of ministries and other central administration bodies – at least in one major ministry in the form of a pilot project (implementing agency: Office of the Government of the Czech Republic) 1. 1. 2022 31. 8. 2022