Focus on Citizens
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Focus on Citizens

Public Engagement for Better Policy and Services

Complex policy issues cannot be solved by government alone. Delivering high-quality public services at the least cost and achieving shared public policy goals requires innovative approaches and greater involvement of citizens. This book is a valuable source of information on government performance in fostering open and inclusive policy making in 25 countries. It offers rich insights into current practice through 14 in-depth country case studies and 18 opinion pieces from leading civil society and government practitioners. It includes 10 guiding principles to support open and inclusive policy making and service delivery in practice. 


"Including more people, earlier and more creatively, in public policy issues is vital not just to secure legitimacy for policy decisions, but also to unlock a mass of creativity and commitment. Innovation is increasingly going to become an open, social and networked activity. That is true in politics and policy as much as in business. This timely, thoughtful book will help make open innovation in public policy a practical reality."

-Charles Leadbeater, author We-think: Mass innovation not mass production 


"We cannot engage the public only on issues of service delivery, but need also to seek their views, energy and resources when shaping public policy. To do otherwise is to create a false distinction between design and delivery, when in the citizens’ eyes it is all connected."

-Irma Pavliniè Krebs, Minister of Public Administration, the Republic of Slovenia


"Focus on Citizens shines a light on the practical difficulties and significant benefits of open and inclusive policy making – not only for OECD member country governments but equally for non-member countries." 

-Bart W. Édes, Head, NGO and Civil Society Center, Asian Development Bank

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Publication Date :
28 May 2009

Calling All Politicians

Take Your Citizens Seriously, or Be Marginalised You do not have access to this content

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Jacques Wallage
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On the surface one might argue that not very much has changed. I started my career in the 1960s in the middle of a movement against authority and the establishment.* Before that, after World War II, people also believed that politics would never be the same. And yet, the discussion about the existence of a small ruling elite is still going on. We still have more or less the same parties in a reasonably functioning democracy. And electoral turnout, at least on the national level, is high, at about 80%. The general level of trust in government has declined somewhat overall, but now seems to be recovering a bit. So, what exactly is the problem?