Promote Partnership and Dialogue Between Public Authorities, Citizens and NGOs at National, Regional and Local Level in the Area of Participatory Public Policy-Making. (SK0105)
Action Plan: Slovak Republic National Action Plan 2017-2019
Action Plan Cycle: 2017
Lead Institution: Plenipotentiary of the Government for the Development of Civil Society
Support Institution(s): NA
Policy AreasCapacity Building, Fiscal Openness, Public Participation, Public Participation in Budget/Fiscal Policy, Regulatory Governance
With a vision to promote the principles of open governance at regional and local levels, The Office of the Plenipotentiary of the Government for the Development of the Civil Society in cooperation with NGOs pre-pared a national project to promote the participation of citizens in public policy making. The project enti-tled "Promoting partnership and dialogue between public administration, citizens and non-governmental organizations at national, regional and local level in the field of participatory public policy-making“37 will be funded by the Effective Public Administration Operational Program.
The project will implement 12 participatory policy-making process at national, regional, local and micro-regional level in areas such as participatory budgeting, the issue of national and local Roma integration, sustainable mobility, environmental education and others. The project will also map the current legislative framework and the state of participation in Slovakia and strengthen professional capacities of public serv-ants in participatory public policy-making. The project will be concluded by the evaluation of the 12 partici-patory policy-making process in order to disseminate examples of good practice.
Commitment No. 48: Promote partnership and dialogue between public authorities, citizens and NGOs at national, regional and local level in the area of participatory public policy-making.
IRM Midterm Status Summary
THEME - Raise awareness about participatory policy making
Comm 44, 46, 48, 50, 51, 52
Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan[Note : The Office of the Plenipotentiary, “Open Government Partnership National Action Plan of the Slovak Republic 2017 – 2019”, http://bit.ly/2QYIlHV]:
Commitment 44: “Organize trainings in the area of involving the public in the creation of public policies for public servants who will participate in the creation of public policies that have been identified.”
Commitment 46: “Conduct workshops focused on the exchange of experiences among government employees who participate in the creation of the identified public policies.”
Commitment 48: “Promote partnership and dialogue between public authorities, citizens and NGOs at national, regional and local level in the area of participatory public policy-making.”
Commitment 50: “Create learning tools in the field of participation.”
Commitment 51: “Use educational tools about participation in formal education using informal learning methods.”
Commitment 52: “Develop recommendations for embedding participatory processes into organizational processes, internal guidelines and other documents for the needs of central government bodies.”
Start Date: Not specified
End Date: 31 December 2019
Context and Objectives
This cluster of commitments is complementary to a previous cluster of commitments on participatory policy-making. Similarly, these commitments aim at creating favorable conditions for public servants to be able to lead meaningful participatory processes. The interviewees agreed that providing public servants with opportunities for learning, knowledge exchange, and encouraging them to co-operate across sectors is a key to successful participatory processes[Note : Interview with Karolína Miková (PDCS), 9 November 2018. Interview with Veronika Prachárová (Slovak Governance Institute), 16 November 2018. Interview with Marcel Zajac (Centre for Philanthropy), 5 November 2018. See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details. ]. Therefore, all commitments in this cluster are relevant, and if fully implemented they could change the status quo and contribute to developing policies with greater engagement from CSOs and citizens.
Commitment 44 and 46 could have a moderate potential impact in raising awareness of the public servants on participatory policy making. Interviewees mentioned that although training and workshops are crucial, to have a greater impact and to make a more convincing argument and get buy-in from a critical mass of public servants, it is important to engage public servants who already have a positive experience with participatory policy-making. A CSO representative who has extensive experience with facilitating participatory processes argued that the best agents of change are those public servants who developed policies in a participatory manner and perceived the process as useful[Note : Interview with Karolína Miková (PDCS), 9 November 2018. See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details. ]. Public servants interviewed for this report were in favor of engaging CSOs and the public in the development of policies, noting that civic engagement has an impact on the atmosphere in the society and affects the quality of legislation[Note : Interview with a ministry representative 3 who wished to remain anonymous, 6 November 2018, See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details. ],[Note : Interview with a ministry representative 2 who wished to remain anonymous, 6 November 2018, See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details. ].
All interviewed stakeholders also agreed that creating, promoting and using educational tools about participation (commitments 50 and 51) are positive steps and have the potential to increase public participation. If these educational materials are well designed and have a broad reach, they could be a useful resource for public servants[Note : Interview with Karolína Miková (PDCS), 9 November 2018. Interview with Marcel Zajac (Centre for Philanthropy), 5 November 2018. See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details. ]. They stated that at the moment there is a lack of available best practices examples. Commitment 48 to promote cooperation between public agencies, citizens and CSOs at national, regional and local level in participatory policy-making is a positive development. However, the commitment is worded vaguely to achieve a potentially higher impact. Commitment 52 to develop recommendations for embedding participatory processes into organizational processes could have a moderate potential impact because if these recommendations were followed, they could bring a more consistent and uniform approach to participatory processes across different government agencies. As a spin-off, they could also make participatory
All interviewed stakeholders agreed about the importance of these commitments. Therefore, the IRM researcher recommends continuing with their implementation and ensuring that educational tools are of high quality and reflect the needs of public servants. Similarly, the government is advised to keep up its work in organizing training and workshops about participatory policy making for public servants ensuring these are well designed and delivered by experienced trainers. The government should have within one key ministry, e.g. the Deputy Prime Minister’s office, a dedicated center for maintaining standards, e.g. managing stakeholder relations and contacts, and best practice in public consultations and participatory policymaking. One of the key functions of this body would be to arrange training in all ministries, agencies, and also local government in the organization of public consultations. It would also be useful to have one or two people trained as trainers within each ministry. Last but not least, the training needs to be widely advertised among public servants so that those interested are informed and can participate.