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Paris, France

To Give the Parisians Tools to Be Committed (PAR0002)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Paris, France Action Plan

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: DDCT

Support Institution(s): Service de la politique de la ville Service aux associations Mairies d’arrondissement Commissions consultatives parisiennes : Commission Parisienne du Débat Public et Conseil parisien de la jeunesse, NGO : Cap ou pas cap, Voxe, Muse des territoires les 108 000 habitants détenteurs de la carte de Citoyen et les 65 000 adhérents au Budget Participatif

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Open Regulations, Public Participation, Subnational

IRM Review

IRM Report: Paris Final IRM Report 2017

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

PROBLEM COVERED BY THE COMMITMENT: To give all inhabitants the means to build public policies together, to strengthen the presence of citizens in all bodies of representative democracy and to build the tools of participation with all categories of inhabitants; PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: 1 / Train and inform citizens to rethink and reinforce the spaces of participatory democracy on the Parisian territory. To enable all inhabitants to understand the functioning of the city, to give them access and to build with them the tools of participation so that they can propose and co-construct public policies. 2 / The inhabitants are the foundation of representative and participative democracy. To give the inhabitants the possibility to think and suggest a reinforcement of the spaces of representative democracy but also give them the possibility to engage innovative actions on the territory, to exchange and debate.; DESCRIPTION OF THE COMMITMENT: To meet Objective 1: The city created a Paris Citizens card. "This card is part of a logic of inclusion and citizenship." In connection with the identity of Paris, the Paris Citizens card is based on a civic, cultural and associative offer giving access, free of charge, to training courses, the Ateliers Citoyens de Paris (building its project, understanding institutions, Meet elected officials ...). The Paris Citizens card associates associations on the territory, civitech and all the inhabitants to enrich the representative democracy. To meet Objective 2: Drafting of a guide and a charter of participation to reaffirm proximity as the foundation of municipal action while allowing a deep re-examination of modes of governance with citizens. To do this, digital consultations will be carried out and in presences to know the wishes of the inhabitants, to co-construct together the tools of participation and place the citizen at the center of the participatory system. All the actors present will be involved in the participation on the territory, inhabitants, associations, civictech and consultative bodies of the city of Paris; RELEVANCE: Understand the functioning of the city so as to become more involved by appropriating the mechanisms of participation and developing a common culture in the construction of public policy. The objective is to strengthen the participation of all the inhabitants by appropriating all the participation tools proposed by the City of Paris.; AMBITION: Digital and face-to-face consultations designed in a lively, inclusive and productive manner to enable citizens to take ownership of the issues of consultation to co-construct the participation charter. Make available participation tools that meet the needs of Parisians and create a real dynamic to build with citizens the Paris of tomorrow. The ambition is to create a citizen impulse by offering them tools of participation drawn by them in a new charter of Parisian participation.; STEPS IN IMPLEMENTATION: 1. Launch of the consultation with Parisians, edition of the guide and new citizen workshops 2. Restitution of the consultation 3. Writing of the parisian participation charter 4. Adoption of the parisian participation charter 1. JANUARY 2017 2. JUNE 2017 3. SEPTEMBER 2017 1. June 2017 for consultation on the charter 2. September 2017 3. October 2017 4. Registration on the agenda of the council of paris / november 2017

IRM End of Term Status Summary

2. To give the Parisians tools to be committed [tools to engage with the City of Paris]

Commitment text

To give all inhabitants the means to build public policies together, to strengthen the presence of citizens in all bodies of representative democracy and to build the tools of participation with all categories of inhabitants.

Objectives:

  1. Train and inform citizens to rethink and reinforce the spaces of participatory democracy on the Parisian territory. To enable all inhabitants to understand the functioning of the city, to give them access and to build with them the tools of participation so that they can propose and co-construct public policies.
  2. The inhabitants are the foundation of representative and participative democracy. To give the inhabitants the possibility to think and suggest a reinforcement of the spaces of representative democracy but also give them the possibility to engage innovative actions on the territory, to exchange and debate.

To meet these objectives:

  1. The city created a Paris Citizens card. 'This card is part of a logic of inclusion and citizenship.' In connection with the identity of Paris, the Paris Citizens card is based on a civic, cultural and associative offer giving access, free of charge, to training courses, the Ateliers Citoyens de Paris (building its project, understanding institutions, Meet elected officials...). The Paris Citizens card [brings together] associations on the territory, civictech and all the inhabitants to enrich the representative democracy.
  2. Drafting of a guide and a charter of participation to reaffirm proximity as the foundation of municipal action, while allowing a deep re-examination of models of governance with citizens. To do this, digital [and in person] consultations will be carried out to know the wishes of the inhabitants, to co-construct together the tools of participation and place the citizen at the center of the participatory system. All the actors present will be involved in the participation on the territory, inhabitants, associations, civictech and consultative bodies of the city of Paris.

Milestones

1. Launch of the consultation with Parisians, edition of the guide and new citizen workshops

2. [Debriefing] of the consultation

3. Writing of the parisian participation charter

4. Adoption of the parisian participation charter

Commitment Overview

 

 

Commitment Aim

Overall Objective & Relevance

The City of Paris observed in its action plan that citizen involvement in the democratic process remains relatively low, especially among underrepresented communities. This is true for Paris and many cities nationwide, despite the current regulatory framework for public participation, which includes the 2009 Parisian Charter for Public Participation[i] In 2013, the report “Citoyenneté et pouvoir d’agir dans les quartiers populaires” authored by MH Bacqué & M Mechmache to the ministry for urban affairs (http://www.ville.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/rapport_participation_habitants_web_141107.pdf) has shown that youth and precarious citizens are absent in participation initiatives and that “participation is often without stakes and without effects.” According to Nicky Tremblay, co-president of Pas Sans Nous, a collective dedicated to the inclusion of citizens in working-class neighborhoods, in an interview to Public Sénat in March 2017 (https://www.publicsenat.fr/article/societe/les-banlieues-grandes-oubliees-de-la-campagne-presidentielle-57548), only one of the 30 proposals of the report authored by Bacqué and Mechmache led to a concrete action which is the creation is citizens councils in France major cities. Yet, this action is considered as a “failure” by Nicky Tremblay as she considers these citizens councils as “left behind” by both the inhabitants and the elected officials. . For example, often only a minority of active citizens participate in public hearings. CSO representation for some communities is insufficient, and many Parisians do not benefit from new public participation tools. According to a digital consultation carried out by the City Paris, 66% of respondents said they do not engage in public affairs The City of Pars conducted a digital consultation on participation of Parisians in public life that registered 440 participants. (March to April 2017), https://www.paris.fr/actualites/consultation-numerique-charte-parisienne-de-la-participation-4580 . Without adequate participation and representation, many Parisians do not express their concerns in local democracy or influence policy decisions that impact their lives.

To address the issue of low participation and underrepresentation in general policy-making and government processes, this commitment seeks to build upon existing participatory initiatives, and to gather citizen input to develop a new public consultation guide and charter. As mentioned in the commitment text, the city of Paris launched a “citizen card” in February 2016 to provide citizens with information regarding city initiatives. This commitment aims to complement the already existing citizen card and improve existing tools by setting standards of inclusion in participation processes. To that end, the municipality committed to conduct a public consultation that involves in-person and online sessions (i.e. workshops, surveys, and interviews) and that re-examines and reconstructs the model of municipal governance.

The commitment aims to (1) draft a new public participation charter that takes into account the ideas and opinions gathered from the consultation, and (2) submit it on the agenda of the Council of Paris for adoption. According to the action plan, the consultation process and subsequent charter would expand public participation by gathering and incorporating suggestions from citizens that previously did not make their voices heard in local democracy. The charter would also increase transparency in policy development through increased and open citizen engagement.

Specificity and Potential Impact

The level of specificity of this commitment is medium. The commitment language provides clear, verifiable activities (consultation process, interviews and surveys, co-construction workshops to write the Parisian charter) and measurable deliverables (public debrief on the consultation process, publication of a timeline on the City of Paris’ website and the adoption of the Parisian charter). However, it is unclear how these activities will be implemented and how they will ultimately contribute to the objective of the commitment. As written, it cannot be ascertained whether citizens beyond the “usual suspects” will be able to contribute to the participation charter during the proposed consultation. The commitment lacks a clear roadmap or strategy to increase diversity of participants on general policy-making processes.

If fully implemented, this commitment could contribute to enabling underrepresented citizens to participate in local initiatives, even if a participation charter does not have any legal power. However, the lack of specificity undermines the commitment’s potential to change the status quo. A Parisian participation charter has already existed since 2009. The proposal for a new charter should include information on the expected changes, specifically as it relates to the issue identified in the action plan, increasing diversity in participation. As written, the call for a new charter is a positive step forward, however, its impact will be determined by how it is drafted and ultimately implemented. In the past, multiple stakeholders have identified weakness with the current participation model. For example, in an academic study from 2013, two researchers who specialize in public participation identified that the 2009 charter could be revised to shift towards a model in which citizens are involved and empowered in policy making and implementation http://www.participation-et-democratie.fr/sites/default/files/alexisottaviano_article_remanie_gis.pdf . Another key challenge has been improving access and visibility to the Charter itself. For example, according to Audrey Livé, Vice-President of the organization Ensemble pour le 14e, who participated in the consultation process for the new charter, before the meeting and despite being a very active Parisian, she did not know the previous charter, nor did the members of her associations or the citizens of the 14th district council.

The creation of a new charter with active public participation could contribute to awareness-raising and acceptance of its principles, including citizens beyond the usual suspects. However, considering further that charters lack enforcement capacities, the potential impact of this commitment is minor. It represents a positive incremental step towards improving guidelines on civic participation, but does not directly address the core problem that has perpetuated the underrepresentation of certain communities.

Completion
Complete

This commitment is complete. On the first milestone, the consultation with Parisians was conducted in three major steps. First, in March 2017, a survey was published on paris.fr to evaluate the Parisian participation tools, which gathered 446 answers. The government uploaded the raw data to the open data portal https://opendata.paris.fr/explore/dataset/consultation-numerique-sur-la-participation-citoyenne-a-paris/information/ and published a synthesis https://api-site-cdn.paris.fr/images/93853 . Second, in March-April 2017, the government conducted interviews and workshops with citizens and civil servants, and published a corresponding synthesis https://api-site-cdn.paris.fr/images/93852 . A consultation was also held on idee.paris to gather new ideas, which was also summarized https://api-site-cdn.paris.fr/images/93947 . Third, the government hosted two workshops on May 15th https://api-site-cdn.paris.fr/images/93003 and June 15th 2017 https://api-site-cdn.paris.fr/images/95356 to discuss the results of these consultations and comment on the content of the future charter.

In this sense, the second milestone was also achieved as the consultation was debriefed with multiple reports summarizing the results of participation (cited above). The two aforementioned workshops were also hosted to achieve that same goal.

The writing and adoption of the participation charter are also completed. The participation charter was adopted at the meeting of the Council of Paris on 12 December 2017. “Charte parisienne de la participation citoyenne,” https://api-site-cdn.paris.fr/images/97386 The charter includes ten commitments for improving civic participation. For example, the City of Paris commits to promoting inclusive participatory spaces, communicating the results of consultations, and publishing anonymized data on participation and source codes. Noteworthy commitments include commitments to release the raw data of consultations and to publish the source code of algorithms used to sort public comments. It is important to note, however, that the charter does not list a timeline for the full implementation of the proposed commitments, which will require additional resources.

 

Early results: did it open government?

Civic Participation: Marginal

This commitment addressed the issue of low citizen involvement in participatory tools. Specifically, the commitment looked to empower citizens to participate in local initiatives by co-creating a new participation charter in collaboration with the public.

Regarding the OGP value of civic participation, this commitment led to a marginal change in government practices. By assessing available tools and asking citizens out of the sphere of “usual suspects”, the city of Paris made efforts to bridge the gap with citizens who are not aware of the opportunities of participatory democracy. For example, during the first phase of consultation, about two thirds of the 446 participants considered themselves not engaged in public affairs. Final Summary, https://api-site-cdn.paris.fr/images/93853 Similarly, the vast majority of participants had not previously utilized the City of Paris’ online consultation tools. Ibid., 24, 34, 37. In this sense, the consultation held from March to June was a positive step forward. Overall, more than 600 people participated in the process and importantly, the government published both the raw data of the consultation as well as extensive summaries of the comments received. Ibid.

The consultation also helped the City of Paris identify several issues in how it currently involves the public in decision-making, including a need for public awareness of tools outside of the participatory budget and neighborhood council, venues for citizens to meet and participate, trainings on participatory practices and answers to the demands of citizens to build trust. These specific issues were addressed in the text of the new charter, in which the city of Paris commits to provide all information means to help citizens know about participation (3rd article), to promote the establishment of civic and democratic venues (9th article) and to follow up with citizens on the outcome of their participation (6th article) https://api-site-cdn.paris.fr/images/95356 .

Despite the collaborative development of the new charter, its implementation remains to be seen. As the charter was adopted by the Council of Paris at the very end of the action plan, the charter did not lead to concrete changes in government practices in the time-frame of the one-year period of the plan. For this reason, the IRM considers that the new commitments—while promising—have not yet contributed to major changes in government openness.

Recommendations

The new participation charter proposes ambitious best practices to help a wider variety of people themselves in local participatory democracy. However, the charter matters only if it is actually implemented and leads to concrete changes.

To make the charter actionable, the city of Paris could produce tools to help administrations follow its principles. For instance, in a different field, the best practices of open data were translated by a group of open data projects managers into actionable checklists with 72 rules for open data producers https://checklists.opquast.com/fr/opendata/ . In the field of participation, Etalab, the French open data taskforce, partnered with civic tech actors to list the best practices before, during and after a public consultation. https://consultation.etalab.gouv.fr/laconsultation.html This group also listed the tools available for administrations to conduct a consultation. The City of Paris could produce such resources to help administrations follow the charter’s principles both offline and online.

Beyond producing resources, the city of Paris could follow up on the charter by organising a Parisian observatory of participatory democracy. This observatory could allow the city of Paris to check if the charter principles are actually implemented and give recommendations to its services on effective and inclusive public participation. The observatory could be a multi-stakeholder entity involving contributors to the charter.

 


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