Public Engagement in Policymaking (LV0044)
Action Plan: Latvia Action Plan 2019-2021
Action Plan Cycle: 2019
Lead Institution: State Chancellery
Support Institution(s): State and municipal institutions School of Public Administration, MEPRD, JusticeMinistry, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,Ministry of Culture, KNAB, Society IntegrationFoundation, Ministry of Health Representatives of the society “PublicpoliticianscenterPROVIDUS ",Foundation for Public Participation Fund (PortalManaBalss.lv), Society “Latvian Civic Alliance”
Policy AreasCapacity Building, E-Government, Health, Marginalized Communities, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery, Security & Public Safety, Sustainable Development Goals
What are the major national and societal challenges that this commitment will address?
Currently, the legal framework imposes an obligation on state and local government institutions to providepublic participation:
- in the development planning process, as well as in the drafting of legislative acts that significantly change the existing oneregulation or new policy initiatives, 16- if the project is likely to affect a public rights or legal interests,
- matters of public interest .MK 25/09/2009 Regulation No. 970 Public Participation in the Development Planning Processthe steps to involve the public are listed: initiating the process, developing the document, implementing it,monitoring, evaluation, updating. Also listed are the types of participation that can be used: workgroups, advisory councils, public consultation (period), public consultation(meeting), discussion groups, forums, written opinions and other participatory activities.The Commitment Working Group made a recommendation to improve regulation by the publicparticipation at municipal level to implement the tools necessary for public participation(such as local referendums) in municipalities.To sum up, at present, the general framework for participation provides for a sufficiently broad public participation.Issues that should be addressed as a matter of priority are related to ensuring public participation in practice.Participation in practice in the work of the state and local governments is insufficient and effective.Survey of the State Chancellery “On Public Participation in the Work of State and Local Government Institutions” 2018The following problems are identified: the public wants to get involved at an early stage, public administration and local governmentin most cases the authorities' information on participation opportunities is not timely, adequate and comprehensible,lack of constructive discussion, lack of feedback and information on the outcome of participation,consequently, the motivation to engage disappears.Interestingly, a year later, in October 2019, a survey by the State Chancellery partially addressed the problemsreiterates its findings in 2018: information on participation opportunities is not available in a timely manner andin one place, there is a lack of proactive engagement, participation is not “wanted” but rather formal,the lack of a convenient opportunity to give an opinion and a meaningfully organized consultation process, initiativestraceability, lack of feedback and promotion of engagement results, populationdoes not use a clear and comprehensible expression.It should also be noted that there are not enough convincing examples of citizen consultation and participationbefore any major reforms, new policies or major societal changesimplementing change.During the last 7 years, the number of advisory institutions of ministries and their subordinate institutions has increased - in 2018there were 170 of them, but there is no analysis of how widely and effectively consultative institutions are used as a platformpublic involvement.Problems point to a lack of understanding, tools, methods and often capacity and resourcesstate and municipal institutions and public organizations are just practical societiesparticipation. In some cases, the lack of political will to engage is also a problemdecision-making by companies.New, innovative methods of participation are entering the world. Increasingly used in the public sectordesign thinking - people-centric solutions based on user experience and needs.2018-2019 VAS training course ”Public Service Design Training. Coach Training ”24 participants from 17 public administrations learned design thinking. Popularity is gainingcitizens' consultations ( Decision of the Departmental ) or a random path select members of the public involvement in asolving a complex problem with a view to reaching a joint decision 20 , citizen panel discussionsetc.So far, participation frameworks and existing tools have supported collective forms of participation. The followingopportunities are, for example, embedded in the CoM's Rules of Procedure and the Memorandum of Cooperation between NGOs and the CoMrepresentatives of collecting societies delegated to the Executive Board. It is important to offer broader onesforms of collaboration and communication, creating the conditions for individual expression or action, such as:therefore, there is no need to unite in forms of collective organization. To this end, such participations are encouragedtools that offer individuals also individual forms and opportunities for participation.E-environments, portals and platforms on the Internet increase the opportunities to inform the public about opportunities to participatediscussing projects and learning about the results of participation. The first open governance actionThe plan remained an unfulfilled effort to create a free - access websiteopportunities for civil society organizations to participate (events, debates, public participation)for consultation). 21 A successful example of informing in the e-environment is the Cross-Border Coordination Center publicconsultation website on Latvia's National Development Plan 2021-2027 year. 22ndIt is expected that in the first quarter of 2021 the Unified Legislation andreconciliation portal (TAP portal). The TAP portal will cover legislation to be submitted to the CoM - Developmentdraft planning documents, draft laws, draft legal acts of the Cabinet of Ministers. TAP portal will be able tofind out about specific new projects, opportunities to participate in them (for example, give an opinion,apply to the workgroup), follow the progress of the project and see the results of the participation. So TAPthe portal will improve access to information about specific projects, allowing you to see through the projectsuggestions made in one place. These projects will be easier to track, including newslettersReceive email about policies or projects of interest.In addition, there are other topical issues where the public can participate, such as the municipalitydevelopment planning documents and binding regulations, draft laws initiated by the Saeima, variousinstitutions, projects, meetings, evaluations, surveys, etc. There are also a variety of individuals,initiatives by public and private organizations, such as bills registered by the CEC (electoral councils)initiatives), collective submissions to municipalities, civil society initiatives such as the portalMyBalss.lv, ParVaiPret.lv or lemejs.lv platforms etc.The portal "Man. State. Law" has been created, which is part of the official publisher "Latvijas Vestnesis"maintained national, civic and legal information platforms. Its mission is to promote societiesan understanding of the rights and obligations of private individuals under regulatory enactments.In 2019, the Latvian Civic Alliance in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung office in the Balticcreated a “ Participation. Tip! Activism. ” (LPA), which provides access to useful thingsresources for civic engagement, civic participation and political dialogue.The complex nature of participation indicates a number of other challenges that need to be addressed further. Among themlow involvement of citizens, lack of awareness of the importance of participation and lack of knowledge and skillslack of participatory planning and provision.Continuing methodological support (including training and joint participation) in public administration is importantstandard) and the development of new engagement tools. It is important to develop the skills to provide skillsParticipation - identifying the stakeholders, finding their views, choosing and using methods(types of participation) that are best used in a particular project, provide effective feedbacku. etc. It is important to enable researchers to engage in public consultations and other activitiespublic opinion, thus contributing to evidence-based decision making.At the same time, it is important to focus on engaging in practice, and to increase participatory success stories(examples of good practice) and promote them.In several other countries, participatory support activities and e-platforms including Lithuania and Estonia, including Austria, UK, Australia, Italy, New Zealand,In Germany. Several countries have developed participatory (open policy) principles or standards, in the UK they doare also being tested. Austria Participation portal created. 23 A central portal has recently been launched in Lithuaniafor communication with public authorities and participation in "Epilsonis" epilietis.lrv.lt. There is an e-consulting service in Estoniaplatform http://www.osale.ee, which is currently being developed under the Open Governance Plan.Existing resources and tools, such as those of ministries and subordinate bodies, should be used to fulfill the commitmentnetwork of public participation officers 24 , united state and municipal clientsService Centers (PSAPs) 25 and portals already in place or under development in the country. Collaborate with NGOs that:receives public funding to promote civic participation, including with Active Citizensthe implementation of which has already begun in Latvia.
What is the commmitment?
1. Raising awareness, knowledge and skills about civic participation:
o Evaluation of the contribution of NGOs to the promotion of public participation in the regions supported by the SIFprograms and projects; and providing information to NGOs on opportunities to applyprojects in the NGO Fund for Participatory Activities ( responsible: SIF),
o Participation master classes for public officialson public participation ( responsible: VAS, co-responsible: VK, TM),
o Once a year, include in the training of the ACCRC staff the current events of the societyparticipatory practices and train them to provide information to citizens about societyparticipation in the digital environment. Puts up - to - date information in the VPVKAC network andhttps://www.latvija.lv ( responsible : VARAM),
o implement measures in general education to raise awareness among young people of:what public participation in a democratic country is, why it is important and how meaningful it isimplement ( responsible : Ministry of Education and Science, co - responsible: municipalities andgeneral education institutions).
2. Pilot projects on participatory and civic good practice:
o public involvement in the development of a comprehensive national defense system ( responsible:Ministry of Defense, co-responsible: all ministries within their competence,municipal authorities, defense NGOs),
o addressing the risks of corruption in the healthcare sector (gifts of gratitude) by involvinghealth professionals and the population receiving health care,using public sector innovation and behavioral research methods 26 ( responsible :Ministry of Health and KNAB),
To be implemented in conjunction with Commitment 6 'Reducing the risk of corruption in healthcare system ”.
o Communication activities so that public administration employees under Diaspora law caninvolve the diaspora in decisions that may affect it ( responsible : Foreign Affairs)ministry with the support of the Diaspora Advisory Council).
3. Participation support measures and development of e-participation tools:
o Recommendations for effective public participation ( maturity model ); andparticipation in the development of visual information ( responsible: VK, with responsible person)official support),
o Development of new, innovative e-Environments for participation tools, including e-Environmentsopportunities and promoting community involvement at both collective and individual levels ( responsible:VK, ManaBalss.lv, Latvian Civic Alliance, SIF, other institutions andorganizations).
Development or improvement of participatory tools, including portals, by public authorities and / orfinanced by the State budget, coordinated and coordinated with the MEPRD in order to avoid:duplication with other analogue digital tools.
How will the commitment help to address the issues identified?
Commitment will help to raise awareness and knowledge about civic participation and skills like this provide. Sharing of participatory good practices (pilot projects) will be supported. The commitment also providesthe development of standards, a portal and new tools to ensure more effective and targeted participation,reaching a wider audience and better understanding public opinion.
Why is this commitment consistent with OGP values?
The commitment shall comply with the following OGP values:
• Participation , as it focuses on broader and more skilled public involvement with public authoritiesat work and a better understanding of the importance and benefits of participation.
Available commitment ornecessary financing
MEPRD - grants from the state budget for the activities of the HACCPwithin the budget program 30.00.00 “Developmentnational aid instruments'Public involvement in comprehensive state defensesystem development pilot project Ministry of Defensewill be provided by the existing budget without any allocationadditional funding for the pilot project.The Ministry of Health will set a pilot project in 2020the planned activities and those in needadditional funding. Question on the Ministry of Healththe necessary additional state budget financingpilot projectimplementationIn 2021viewableIn the process of preparing the 2021 budget
Relationship with other documentsRegional Policy Guidelines 2021-For the year 2027Latvian National Development Plan 2021-2027 year(in development)
Compliance with UN sustainable developmentgoals
Complies with UN Sustainable Development 16.7. for the sub-objective -“Ensure a flexible, inclusive, inclusive andrepresentative decision-making at all levels ”
IRM Midterm Status Summary
5. Qualitative public participation in reform processes and addressing of topical societal issues
- Promotion of understanding, knowledge and skills of public participation
- Pilot projects of good practices of participation and involvement of residents:
Shall be implemented in conjunction with the activity “Reduction of the risks of corruption in the health care system” within the framework of the Commitment 6.
- Participation support measures and development of e-participation tools:
- Educational activities regarding participation for responsible officials, employees of the UCSCSAs and representatives of civil society in regions (at least one training course for each group)
- Implementation of at least one pilot project
- Development of proposals for public participation and publishing thereof in e-environment, including on tai.mk.gov.lv and TAP portal
- An increase in the number of draft laws and regulations in terms of the percentage with regard to which the public opinion has been obtained
Editorial Note: For the complete text of this commitment, please see Latvia’s action plan at: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Latvia_Action-Plan_2019-2021_EN.pdf
IRM Design Report Assessment
Civic participation, Access to Information
This commitment aims to provide information about civic participation to public officials and the public. The commitment is also relevant to the OGP value of participation because it will include actions that pilot civic participation in the specific policy areas of defence, health and issues affecting the diaspora. The commitment also seeks to facilitate the development of e-participation tools.
According to the OECD, Latvia measures as a middle performer in civic engagement.  According to the European Social Survey,  only 9% of the citizens can be seen as civically active. Furthermore, out of five key variables in the Democracy Index  evaluation, Latvia ranks as the lowest in political participation (5.56).
Even though the existing legal framework in Latvia provides for participation to be ensured by the state and local government,  representatives from state-funded organisations and civil society organisations  noted that this does not translate into successful engagement in practice. The results of a 2019 survey by the State Chancellery  indicated that the general public is interested in participating in the early stages of decision-making processes, but such opportunities are rarely provided. A lack of constructive discussion, feedback and even basic information about participation contributes to a further decrease in participation levels. Representatives from civil society and state-funded organisations  also noted that participation happens on an ad hoc basis, taking on a formal format and that the language used to present proposals is often bureaucratic and overly complicated. Overall, the main obstacles to participation include a lack of understanding why participation is beneficial both for the general public and for government and municipal officials, a lack of tools, methods and capacity along with a lack of resources available at the national and regional level.
The commitment aims to address these issues via the introduction of the new TAP portal (Single Portal for the Development and Coordination of Draft Laws and Regulations), which is planned to be launched in the first quarter of 2021. This portal will serve as a single platform for laws and regulations, development planning documents, draft laws and legal acts along with information regarding the opportunities to participate in developing these regulations and laws. Currently, this information is scattered across numerous websites of different institutions. No specific figures regarding data on legislation shaped by active public involvement is gathered. The portal will enable people to calculate how many draft laws and regulations have sought public input, which is not possible to do currently.
The commitment also entails three pilot projects, which are to be carried out in collaboration with other state institutions. Although the specific methods to be used to engage with citizens is not clear, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed  that the general public should be included in the design process of a national defence system. Similarly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed its interest in a more purposeful inclusion of the diaspora in decisions that affect them. The 2019 Diaspora Law  foresees fostering civic and political participation, but specific mechanisms for participation and opportunities for engagement are currently lacking.  Finally, the Ministry of Health will work to address the small-scale corruption risks between patients and doctors in the public health sector. As written, the commitment only outlines an initial research activity based on a KNAB survey and desk research regarding ‘gifts of gratitude’. Since the action plan was adopted, the Government have confirmed that the survey will be carried out by the Ministry of Health and in collaboration with civil society organisation Providus, rather than KNAB.  Health is discussed in depth in the Commitment 6 analysis.
Finally, the commitment emphasises the need to ensure development of e-participation tools, but it is unclear exactly what this may look like. There are several successful civil society platforms for participation in Latvia. For example, Deputāti uz Delnas  is a portal with detailed information on MPs, and the petitions website ‘Mana Balss’ has been particularly successful in facilitating petitions to the Saeima. Laws have been affected positively by 67.5% of the submitted initiatives on Mana Balss – 153 initiatives were submitted to the platform in 2018 with 237,812 people signing the initiatives, more than double the signatures provided in 2015. 
The potential impact of this commitment is moderate, as it foresees wide educational activities and three pilot processes that will include an element of public participation. It also seeks overall to increase the number of draft laws and regulations that have been influenced by the public, although the measure does not have specific targets or requirements about what participation would look like. The facilitation of e-participation platforms, if successful, could also have an effect on public participation in political and civic life. To make the commitment transformational, the relevant institutions could consider permanent mechanisms for turning civic engagement into policy-making processes, using these pilot initiatives to trial engagement, identify obstacles to participation and develop solutions. In particular, attention could be paid to groups directly affected by policy or that are rarely heard in the policy-making process.
Transparency in Public Procurement and Contracts
LV0040, 2019, Access to Information
LV0041, 2019, Access to Information
Transparency in Lobbying
LV0042, 2019, Capacity Building
Open Municipal Government
LV0043, 2019, E-Government
Public Engagement in Policymaking
LV0044, 2019, Capacity Building
LV0045, 2019, Anti-Corruption
Public Participation in Decision-Making
LV0028, 2017, Access to Information
LV0029, 2017, Access to Information
LV0030, 2017, Access to Information
LV0031, 2017, Capacity Building
LV0032, 2017, E-Government
LV0033, 2017, Anti-Corruption
Ethics in Public Management
LV0034, 2017, Capacity Building
LV0035, 2017, Legislation & Regulation
Open Public Procurement
LV0036, 2017, Access to Information
Transparency in State Management
LV0037, 2017, Access to Information
LV0038, 2017, Anti-Corruption
LV0039, 2017, Capacity Building
Concept Note on Publishing Data
LV0018, 2015, Access to Information
Portal Drafting Legislature and Development of Planning Documents
LV0019, 2015, E-Government
Platform Unifying Gov. Webpages
LV0020, 2015, E-Government
Transparency of Selecting Candidates for the Boards and Councils of Public Entity Enterprises
LV0021, 2015, Legislation & Regulation
Supervising Officials Responsible of Public Resources
LV0022, 2015, Anti-Corruption
Sustainable Model of Financing NGOs
LV0023, 2015, Civic Space
Online Collection of Signatures on Referenda
LV0024, 2015, E-Government
Draft Law on Protecting Whistleblowers
LV0025, 2015, Anti-Corruption
Assessment of the System of the Financing Political Parties
LV0026, 2015, Anti-Corruption
Code of Ethics and a Public Administration Employee’S Handbook for Public Sector
LV0027, 2015, Capacity Building
LV0001, 2012, Capacity Building
Strengthen Social Partners
LV0002, 2012, Public Participation
Trade Union Law
LV0003, 2012, Civic Space
LV0004, 2012, Civic Space
Public Engagement Model
LV0005, 2012, Public Participation
Internet Access Points
LV0006, 2012, E-Government
Public Service Assessment
LV0008, 2012, E-Government
LV0009, 2012, E-Government
LV0010, 2012, Anti-Corruption
LV0011, 2012, Legislation & Regulation
LV0012, 2012, Anti-Corruption
Public Subsidy Control
LV0013, 2012, Private Sector
State Owned Enterprises Management
LV0014, 2012, Private Sector
Single Platform for Government Websites and Information
LV0015, 2012, E-Government
Online Broadcasting From the Cabinet and Parliament
LV0016, 2012, E-Government
Website For Public Participation
LV0017, 2012, E-Government