6. Citizen participation in Brazil: Involving citizens and stakeholders in policy making and service delivery

The participation of the governed in the ruling exercise is a fundamental value of modern democratic societies. Even, if for most people, participation in democratic life starts and ends at the ballot box, citizens are increasingly turning to other forms of engagement to express their preferences and engage in public life, including through social media. As democracy has evolved and adapted to contemporary needs and challenges, citizens are being given more central and active roles in the public decision-making process. Non-electoral participation differs from traditional democratic participation, as rather than selecting representatives, stakeholders directly contribute to the policy cycle and in the design and delivery of services. Both types of participation, that is electoral and direct, are nowadays considered essential ingredients of a healthy democracy, for they pursue the same goals: strengthening trust in democratic institutions and improving the decision making processes to allow for better outcomes (i.e. efficient services and policies that answer citizen real needs).

Participatory processes such as consultations, participatory budgets or deliberative assemblies do not replace formal rules and principles of a representative democracy – such as free and fair elections, representative assemblies, accountable executives, a politically neutral public administration, pluralism and respect for human rights (OECD, 2001[1]) because the ultimate responsibility for decisions remains with elected governments, which are accountable to the population. Their role is to renew and deepen the relationship between governments and the public they serve (Sheedy, 2008[2]). Instead of challenging representatives democracies, these newer understandings of the concept of democracy complement existing institutional arrangements to give citizens a more regular opportunity to influence decisions, and for representatives to take better decisions (OECD, 2020[3]). Participation is a wide concept, and it can include participation in public life through non-institutionalised forms such as protest or activism and institutionalised mechanisms such as elections and participatory practices of various kinds. However, this Chapter only looks at the inclusion of citizens and stakeholders in institutional non-electoral mechanisms. In particular, it looks at both the inclusion of citizens (as individuals, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, religious and political affiliations) and of stakeholders (institutions and organisations, whether governmental or non-public, from civil society, academia, the media or the private sector) in public decision-making.

Prior to joining the Open Government Partnership (OGP), Brazil started involving citizens and stakeholders in decision making processes at the local and national level. In the two decades following the democratisation process, the use of innovative mechanisms such as participatory budgeting or policy councils1 placed Brazil as a democratic innovator (Avritzer, 2009[4]; Pogrebinschi, 2021[5]). However, the opportunities for citizens to participate in public decisions have been steadily reduced in recent years, and the relationship between the government and important sectors of civil society has become polarised, which has resulted in hampering traditionally well established participatory practices.

This Chapter analyses citizen and stakeholder participation in Brazil as part of the broader open government agenda. It starts by defining the concept of participation and its understanding in the context of Brazil. It then focuses on the policies and practices that enables it at the Federal level, while integrating selected good practices from the subnational levels. It analyses the legal, institutional and policy frameworks that underpins the environment for participation as well as the resulting culture of participation both in and outside of government. This Chapter looks at specific participatory practices and mechanisms that have emerged in Brazil and identifies emerging trends that could better unleash the potential of citizen participation. Finally, the Chapter provides recommendations for Brazil to strengthen the frameworks and the culture for participation as well as to ensure impactful and inclusive participatory processes that take advantage of democratic innovations.

Throughout the years, the understanding of an open government in OECD countries moved from a transparency-focused agenda to include a more interactive relation between citizens and governments, including other elements such as participation and accountability (OECD, 2016[6]). The OECD Recommendation of the Council on Open Government (Hereafter the Recommendation) defines open government as “a culture of governance that promotes the principles of transparency, integrity, accountability and citizen and stakeholder participation in support of democracy and inclusive growth”.

The OECD defines participation as “all the ways in which stakeholders can be involved in the policy cycle and in service design and delivery”. Participation, hence, refers to the efforts by public institutions to hear (consultation) and integrate (engagement) in public decision making the views, perspectives, and inputs from citizens and stakeholders. Provision 8 and 9 of the Recommendation (2017) invites Adherents to:

8. Grant all stakeholders equal and fair opportunities to be informed and consulted and actively engage them in all phases of the policy-cycle […]”; and

“9. Promote innovative ways to effectively engage with stakeholders to source ideas and co-create solutions […]” (OECD, 2017[7])

The OECD acknowledges that participation is not a linear concept and has different modalities as well as degrees of involvement and of impact (2021[8]). One way to understand and analyse participation is by looking at the degree of agency and power given to participants to influence and take part in the process and its outcomes. Arnstein (1969[9]) coined an eight level scale to understand participation, from manipulation to citizen control. The IAP2’s Spectrum of Public Participation (2018[10]) measures participation in relation to the impact it has on the decisions using five stages. The OECD (2001; 2017) distinguishes between three levels of citizen and stakeholder participation, which differ according to the level of involvement and impact associated:

  • Information: an initial level of participation characterised by a one-way relationship in which the government produces and delivers information to the public. It covers both on-demand provision of information and “proactive” measures by the government to disseminate information. This level of participation can refer to for example, open data platforms or public communication campaigns. The proactive and reactive provision of public information is covered in detail in Chapter 7 on Transparency and 9 on Open Government Data.

  • Consultation: a more advanced level of participation that entails a two-way relationship in which the public provide feedback to the government and vice-versa (comments, perceptions, information, advice, experiences and ideas). It is based on the prior definition of the issue for which views are being sought and requires the provision of relevant information, in addition to feedback on the outcomes of the process. In most cases, there is no obligation to take the views of the audience into consideration when amending plans, making decisions or setting directions. In most consultation meetings, decision makers commit only to receiving the testimony of participants and considering their views in their own deliberations (OECD, 2015[11]). This level of participation can refer to for example, public consultations on draft legislation or consultative bodies on technical questions such as health policies.

  • Engagement: when the public is given the opportunity and the necessary resources (e.g. information, data and digital tools) to collaborate during all phases of the policy-cycle and in the service design and delivery. Engagement is a relationship based on a partnership between citizens and governments. The public actively engage in defining the process and content of policymaking. Like consultation, engagement is based on a two-way interaction but it acknowledges equal standing for citizens in setting the agenda, proposing policy options and shaping the decisions – although the responsibility for the final decision or policy formulation in many cases remains a prerogative of public authorities. This level of participation can refer to for example, representative deliberative processes or participatory budgets at the local level.

The OECD Recommendation of the Council on Open Government (2017[7]) defines the actors that public institutions can involve in their participatory mechanisms:

  • Stakeholders: any interested and/or affected party, including: institutions and organisations, whether governmental or non-public, from civil society, academia, the media or the private sector.​

  • Citizens: individuals, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, religious and political affiliations; and in the larger sense ‘an inhabitant of a particular place’, which can be in reference to a village, town, city, region, state, or country depending on the context.

The participation of citizens and/or stakeholders are both equally important, however they should not be treated equally. No value or preference is given to citizens or stakeholders in particular, as both publics can enrich the decisions, policies and services of the government. Nevertheless, both types of participants will not require the same conditions to participate and will not produce the same type of inputs. For example, stakeholders can provide expertise and more specific inputs than the broader public, and they can represent specific sectors of society through mechanisms such as advisory bodies or experts’ panels. Stakeholders are often driven by specific interests linked to the group they represent, or the values they are supposed to embody. Citizens can provide a general understanding of the needs of the population, support legitimacy and trust in decisions, and enhance representation and inclusion (OECD, 2020[12]).

As per the results of the OECD Survey on Open Government Policies and Practices in Brazilian Public Institutions (OECD, 2021[8]) (hereafter OECD Survey), public institutions in Brazil interact most regularly with citizens, followed by different types of non-public stakeholders such as private sector representatives and civil society organisations (see Figure 6.1).

The process of decision making is as important as the outcomes themselves for reasons both of efficacy and of equity. Participation in the process can bring in the views of all stakeholders – from those who will be implementing to the final beneficiaries (OECD, 2011[14]). OECD member countries’ experience indicates that participation can improve policy performance and the quality of public services by helping governments to better understand people’s needs, tapping on collective intelligence for innovation, creating more cost-efficient policies and enhancing policy implementation (OECD, 2020[12]; OECD, 2009[15]; OECD, 2016[6]). Additionally, participation in the decision making process can promote:

  • trust in public decisions and thus support compliance;

  • answer concerns of unrepresented publics by addressing inequalities of voice and access and thus fight exclusion and marginalisation; and

  • create a sense of belonging and thus foster social cohesion (OECD, 2020[16]).

The benefits of participation can be understood as (OECD, 2016[6]):

  • Intrinsic benefits (i.e. a better and more democratic process): Refers to the improvement and democratisation of the process, which becomes more transparent, inclusive, legitimate and accountable. A better and qualitative process can contribute to increase legitimacy of public decisions, support policy implementation and evaluation and tap on collective intelligence for innovation and creativity.

  • Instrumental benefits (i.e. better results): Refers to the idea that participation can improve the quality of policies, laws and services, as they were elaborated, implemented and evaluated based on better evidence and on a more informed choice. Participation can give the “silent majority” a voice in public decision making, addressing inequalities of voice and access, fighting exclusion and marginalisation and thus ensuring democracies deliver to all.

Ultimately, giving citizens and stakeholder a voice in making the decisions that will affect their lives (beyond elections), and ensuring that their voice has an impact on the final decision, can impact trust in government and strengthen democratic institutions (OECD, 2020[17]);

The Federal Constitution of 1988 establishes principles and general guidelines to frame the understanding of citizen and stakeholder participation in the Brazilian context. However, in practice, the evidence collected by the OECD, shows that this understanding is not harmonised among public authorities and non-public stakeholders in Brazil.

Social participation is the term regularly used in Brazil to refer to the participation of citizens and stakeholders in policy making and service delivery. This concept is used both in the legislation (i.e. Article 193 of the Federal Constitution) as well as in the day to day communications of public institutions. All the non-electoral mechanisms to involve citizens and stakeholders, such as public consultations or councils are referred to as social participation processes. In addition, social participation is used to contrast with popular participation, which rather refers to democratic participation through elections. This Chapter acknowledges the terminology used in Brazil, but for consistency, it uses the terms coined by the OECD throughout the analysis: citizen and stakeholder participation.

As discussed in Chapter 3, Brazil has multiple definitions of open government in place, which might create confusion and hinder the implementation of a coordinated agenda. Brazil encounters a similar challenge when defining citizen and stakeholder participation as federal public institutions do not have a common definition. The Special Secretariat for Social Coordination (SEGOV), the main institution responsible for participation in Brazil, does not provide a definition, neither does the other relevant institutions for this agenda like Casa Civil. Table 6.2 shows the definitions currently used at the Federal level in Brazil, both coined by the CGU.

In addition, evidence collected by the OECD suggests that there is a conceptual confusion among public authorities and non-public stakeholders when referring to participation. In many occasions, stakeholders used social participation and social control as interchangeable concepts. In Brazil, the concept of social control is associated with the inclusion of citizens and stakeholders in the monitoring and evaluation of government actions. Social control refers to vertical mechanisms to implement the principle of accountability, such as Fala.br2. Social accountability is part of the open government agenda, and focuses on ensuring the government is responsible for its actions, and the ability of citizens and stakeholders to question the government and to reward/sanction performance through electoral, institutional, administrative, and social channels such as public meetings (OECD, forthcoming). The confusion is arguably understandable, as both concepts aim at involving citizens and stakeholders in the public action. However, the OECD differentiates these concepts, as they do not pursue the same objective. In the context of Brazil, social participation is about ensuring stakeholders’ inputs are taken into account, through consultation or engagement, when designing policies and services, and in general when taking public decisions. Social control is about allowing stakeholders to question the government for its actions and performance, and putting mechanisms in place to reward or sanction. The principle of accountability is discussed in detail in Chapter 8, including the different vertical and horizontal mechanisms in place in Brazil.

As recommended in Chapter 2, Brazil could consider adopting a single definition of open government, for public institutions and non-public stakeholders to share a common understanding of what open government entails (and does not), and to work towards a shared vision of openness. This definition could clarify the conceptual differences between social participation and social control, and provide a harmonized vision for participation in Brazil. Finally, a single and coordinated definition of open government that includes participation as a core element, can support the systematic identification of the participatory agenda as part of the broader efforts towards openness.

The enabling environment for citizen and stakeholder participation consists of the set of rules, procedures, and institutions that enable the organization of participatory processes. Chapter 3 provides a detailed review of the enabling environment for open government, including provisions on citizen and stakeholder participation. It finds that provisions relating to open government can be found in numerous legal and regulatory documents creating a fragmentation and hindering the move towards an integrated approach open government approach.

Building on the analysis in Chapter 3, this section looks specifically at the framework for citizen and stakeholder participation in Brazil, including the legislation, the policies and the institutional arrangements than enable participatory practices at the Federal level. It finds that Brazil has a variety of laws and decrees covering many aspects of citizen and stakeholder participation at the Federal and subnational levels as well as in specific policy areas and for targeted groups. This rich framework is comprehensive but scattered and fragmented, and is disconnected from other pillars of the open government agenda. In 2020, Brazil adopted a constitutional amendment to include participation as the responsibility of the State, but has not yet regulated the application of this article (193). In addition, Brazil does not have dedicated policy documents on participation and the main strategic documents in other policy domains do not include elements on participation. The institutional setting and governance mechanisms could be streamlined and strengthened to reinforce the stewardship of this agenda at the Federal level and to improve practices in every public institution. This section suggests that Brazil could consider building an integrated framework for participation and simplify the institutional architecture by mandating two bodies at the Federal level, one for policy coordination at the Centre of Government (SEGOV or Casa Civil) and a technical body (CGU) to support implementation. This section looks in detail at the Decree 9.759 which is modifying the participatory architecture in Brazil, and suggests to review its scope and methodology to ensure an evidence-based review of the collegial bodies.

Legal and policy provisions on citizen and stakeholder participation are important not only to frame the mechanisms to involve citizens and stakeholders, but to provide incentives for public authorities. Data gathered though the OECD Survey shows that compliance with legal obligations (76%) and with institutional objectives / priorities (73%) are the main drivers for public institutions at the Federal level to involve citizens and stakeholders (Figure 6.2).

Building on the Constitution, Brazil has adopted numerous laws and decrees to mandate the rights and responsibilities in terms of citizen and stakeholder participation at the Federal and subnational levels of government, as well as addressing specific policy areas and targeted groups in society. This gives participation a high degree of institutionalisation and embeds these practices in the institutional architecture. This section analyses the main clusters of laws and decrees in the area of participation in Brazil to show the diversity of the normative framework. For an overview of the legal and regulatory framework on citizen and stakeholder participation in Brazil, please see Box 6.3.

Brazil’s 1988 Constitution builds the foundation for citizen and stakeholder participation in policy making as well as in service delivery. It makes citizen and stakeholder participation a constitutional principle and a pillar of the democratic system. Participatory elements are spread throughout the Constitution, with nine articles referring to the involvement of citizens and stakeholders in public life (Box 6.3).

In 2020, the Congress, led by the opposition, adopted a constitutional amendment which modified Article 193 to include an explicit mention to citizen participation in social policies: “The State will exercise the function of planning social policies, ensuring, in the terms of the law, the participation of society in the formulation, monitoring, control, and evaluation of these policies”. (Government of Brazil, 1988[18]). As many provisions included in Constitutions, Article 193 requires subordinated legislation to frame the implementation and the scope of this principle. This represents an opportunity for Brazil to adopt a dedicated legislation (Decree or Law) on citizen and stakeholder participation. This legislation could detail the rights of citizens and stakeholders to participate, the responsibilities of the Federal administration in this regard and the mechanisms available to exercise this Constitutional right. It could also be a tool to create synergies between citizen participation and open government in the Brazilian Federal government.

Participatory practices differ across policy areas in Brazil. This is due partially to the specific attributions given to Federal and subnational levels, as well as historical evolutions3. The Constitution establishes a set of guiding principles for some specific policy areas such as Health, Education and Culture and respective laws regulate and detail the participatory practices associated to each policy area.

For example, Law n° 8.142 from 1990 on participatory mechanisms in the Unified Health System (SUS) details a Constitutional principle (Article 194) and regulates participation in public health. It establishes that the Unified Health System (SUS)4 includes mechanisms for citizen and stakeholder participation and creates two collegial bodies (see Box 6.1): the Health Conferences and the Health Councils. In particular, this law regulates the National Health Council, a permanent participatory mechanisms with binding powers that created a reference for other collegial bodies at the State and Municipal level as well as in other policy areas such as education (Gurza Lavalle, 2020[19]). Further guidance and explanation on the functioning of these collegial bodies is detailed in Decree n° 5.839 of 2006, as well as in internal regulations (e.g. Resolution n° 407 of 2008 that enacts the internal rules of the Health Council). See Box 6.1 for more information on the Policy Councils and Conferences in Brazil.

Other policy areas have similar jurisdictions regulating how citizens and stakeholders can be involved in the formulation and evaluation of public policies and services, for example:

  • Education: Law n° 9.131 from 1995 and Law n° 9.394 from 1996 regulate participation in the national education system and provide the mandate for the National Council of Education (CNE)5 as well as other participatory instances in relation to the Ministry of Education and Sports.

  • Children rights: Law n° 8.069 of 1990 and Law n° 8.242 of 1991 create both the guidelines for participation in children and teenager policies and establishes the National Council of Children and Teenagers Rights (CONANDA).

  • Environment: Law n° 6.938 of 1981 and Decree n° 99.274 of 1990 establish the National Policy on Environment and regulate the creation and organisation of the National Council of Environment (CONAMA).

The participation of specific groups of society is also regulated by dedicated legislation. Involving groups of people beyond the “usual suspects” and empowering minorities and traditionally excluded groups like women, indigenous populations or LGBTI individuals, is key for public decision making to be inclusive and effectively address the needs of all citizens and stakeholders (OECD, 2011[14]). In that sense, Brazil has several laws and decrees that ensures the participation of these groups.

For example, the Law n° 12.852 of 2013 on youth rights and policies, regulates the participation of this specific group in policies and decision making. This law defines youth as all the people between fifteen (15) and twenty-nine (29) years old and establishes the legal framework for policies and programmes addressing this group at the Federal level in Brazil. It includes five articles related to youth participation in public life, policy making and public service delivery (see Box 6.2 for more information on youth participation in Brazil). A similar legal structure is established for the elderly by the Decree n° 9.893 of 2019, which creates the National Council for the Rights of the Elderly.

The participation of underrepresented groups is considered by the OECD as part of a protected civic space, which in turn ensures an inclusive and representative participation. Chapter 5 on Civic space provides a detailed analysis of the civic space in Brazil, and highlights the importance of a protected environment for civil society organisation and underrepresented groups to ensure an inclusive and equal participation. In the case of Brazil, the participation of certain underrepresented groups is also regulated by legislation. For example, the Decree n° 8.593 of 2015 establishes mechanisms for the participation of indigenous communities in policy making at the Federal level and the creation of the National Council of Indigenous Policies. Other groups are also considered by specific legislation, for example, the Decree n° 7.388 of 2010 creates the National Council to Fight Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender individuals, ensuring that they are represented in policy making at the Federal level.

In contrast with policy making, where citizen and stakeholder participation legislation is fragmented by policy area and by targeted groups, participation in public services is regulated by the Law n° 13.460 from 2017. This law establishes “general rules for the participation, protection and defence of the rights of the user of public services provided directly or indirectly by the public administration” (Government of Brazil, 2017[24]). The law applies to all public service providers in the public administration at the Federal, State and Municipal level and defines user as any individual or entity that benefits or makes use of a public service. It establishes that the user has basic rights such as information and the participation in the delivery and evaluation of the service. The law also creates the Councils of Users, collegial bodies in charge of making this participation effective in collaboration with other bodies like the ouvidorias (see Chapter 8 for a detailed analysis of the role of the ouvidorias in Brazil). These councils have the following mandate:

  1. 1. Participate in the evaluation of the quality and efficiency of the public service delivery.

  2. 2. Propose improvements in the provision of public services and contribute to the definition of guidelines for adequate user service.

  3. 3. Monitor and assist in the evaluation of the performance of the ouvidorias.

This legislation is a positive development as it ensures that governments go beyond the role of simple provider of services towards a greater partnership with all relevant stakeholders, including the private sector, civil society organisations and citizens (OECD, 2016[6])

In 2019, the Brazilian Federal government adopted the Decree n° 9.759 which establishes rules, guidelines and limitations on the collegial bodies of the Federal administration (Box 6.1 defines these bodies). As established in the Decree’s explanatory statement published by the Casa Civil, the Decree aims at eliminate "superfluous and unnecessary collegial bodies, with unknown results and overlapping attributions with those of individual authorities or other collegial bodies” (Government of Brazil, 2019[25]). Besides an “unmanageable proliferation”, the government motivates the “massive extinction” of collegial bodies with other arguments such as the financial burden, the multiplication of normative acts produced by the collegial bodies, and the “use by interest groups of these bodies to counter the decisions made by elected authorities”. (Government of Brazil, 2019[25]) (Rosa da Silva, da Silva Pereira and Bezerra Bassani, 2020[26]). According to the government, the decree contributes to overall efforts of the current administration to “rationalise and de-bureaucratise the Federal administration”.

This Decree (see Box 6.4 for the Decree in detail) applies to all collegial bodies created by decree prior to 2019, by ordinance (portaria), by other collegial body, as well as those created by subordinated legislation if the law itself does not contain provisions describing the composition or the mandate of the collegial body6. The collegial bodies created by law or introduced in the Constitution are not part of the scope of this Decree. It includes collegial bodies with the participation of non-public stakeholders, such as National Policy Councils, as well as those exclusive to government representatives, such as Committees (see Box 6.14 for more details on the different types of collegial bodies). Casa Civil estimated than around 700 instances were in the scope of the Decree, but highlighted in the explanatory statement that it was not able to establish an official list of these instances (Rosa da Silva, da Silva Pereira and Bezerra Bassani, 2020[26]).

The Decree 9.759 extinguishes existing collegial bodies (article 5) and mandates Casa Civil to centralise all the information and requests regarding the participation of Federal authorities in collegial bodies (article 7, 8 and 9) (Government of Brazil, 2019[27]). In addition to the extinction of collegial bodies, the Decree sets conditions and rules to maintain existing bodies, to recreate or create new ones (articles 3 and 6), such as: “to justify the need, necessity, opportunity and rationale for the collegiate body to have more than seven members” and organize all sessions in a virtual setting (Government of Brazil, 2019[27]). The Decree suggests to public authorities to rationalise the scope, duration and membership of these bodies, as well as the regularity of meetings and the creation of subordinated bodies.

In application of the Decree, several collegial bodies were extinct or had their mandate and composition modified. In complement of the Decree 9.759, the Government of Brazil published the Decree 9.784 in May 2019 which extinguished 55 collegial bodies, including those with representation of non-public stakeholders such as the Council of Social and Economic Development (Conselho de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social) and the National Council of Rural Sustainable Development (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Rural Sustentável) (Government of Brazil, 2019[28]). In addition to the extinction of certain bodies, the modifications have impacted the representation of non-public stakeholders in the collegial bodies, by reducing the number of seats, limiting their participation to one mandate, changing their selection process, and appointing the presidency to a public authority. Table 6.3 below lists some of these changes.

As of December 2021, the Government has not been able to provide complete information and data on the scope of the Decree, the approximate real costs or estimated savings, the membership of the collegiate bodies or the results of the Decree7. However, a recent study suggests that since 2019, almost 75% of the main National Policy Councils have been closed or seen their civil society membership drastically reduced (Jornal Nacional, 2021[29]). Civil society organisations including IMAFLORA, Article 19 and Instituto Socioambiental (2021[30]) published a report showing that from all the collegial bodies related to environmental policies at the Federal level, 18% were extinct and 41% suffered modifications to their composition resulting in a weaker participation of non-public stakeholders. Gurza Lavalle (2020[19]); (2021[31]) suggests that the modification in selection rules for non-public stakeholders, has created further barriers for traditionally excluded groups or smaller organisations to participate in these instances. Evidence gathered by the OECD during interviews suggest that there is a certain consensus among non- governmental stakeholders from academia and civil society, that the Decree reduced drastically, in qualitative and quantitative terms, the space for citizen and stakeholder participation in Brazil. The lack of official information and evidence is not allowing to undertake an evidence-based review of the impact of the Decree and jeopardises the confidence and compliance from the broader public.

Besides criticism from non-public stakeholders, the Decree 9.759 has also faced opposition from public institutions. In 2019, the Federal Supreme Tribunal (Supremo Tribunal Federal - STF) accepted a request of unconstitutionality and censored articles 1 and 9 of the Decree (Agencia Brasil, 2019[32]). The Judges sanctioned the lack of clarity on the scope of the Decree (i.e. the collegial bodies to be affected) which created legal uncertainty for hundreds of instances. The General Attorney’s Office has also raised concerns, stating that “the decree is excessively generic, putting in jeopardy hundreds of collegial bodies that guarantee social participation in the public policy cycle” and that it puts at risk the democratic right for citizens to influence and monitor government action (Agencia Brasil, 2019[32]) (General Attorney’s Office, 2019[33]).

The Decree includes provisions that are not related to the collegial bodies, such as article 10 which revokes the Decree 8.243 of 2014 which established the National Policy on Social Participation (Política Nacional de Participação Social - PNPS) and a National System of Social Participation (Sistema Nacional de Participação Social – SNPS) which created both a framework to harmonize laws, decrees and practices (the “policy”), as well as network of participatory instances and practitioners (the “system”) (Government of Brazil, 2014[34]). Both the Policy and the System were partially implemented, as the Decree 8.243 of 2014 faced criticism and opposition from the Congress perceived as an attack to the mandate given to elected representatives (Camara dos Deputados, 2014[35]). However, the Decree 9.759 does not offer an alternative to the National Policy on Social Participation and, as shown above, it rather affected existing instances of participation.

In conclusion, the evidence collected by the OECD through desk research (Gurza Lavalle and de Paiva Bezerra, 2021[31]; Rosa da Silva, da Silva Pereira and Bezerra Bassani, 2020[26]) and during the fact-finding mission suggest that there is indeed a proliferation of collegial bodies in Brazil and a challenge to map the complexity of the system. In turn, this can lead to overlaps between collegial bodies and other public institutions and it contributes to the impression among public authorities at the Federal level that the collegial bodies are disorganized, expensive, with unclear results and unknown impact (Rosa da Silva, da Silva Pereira and Bezerra Bassani, 2020[26]). However, as detailed in the analysis presented in this section, the Decree 9.759 has affected the opportunities for non-public stakeholders to influence public policies. By closing participatory instances, decreasing the seats for civil society representatives, affecting the selection methodology and revoking the National System for Social Participation, the Decree 9.759 is weakening important and historical spaces for deliberation and participation. This is of particular importance, as data collected by the OECD show that the collegial bodies are the most used participatory mechanism by public authorities at the Federal level (see Figure 6.11).

Finally, the negative narrative put forward by the Government vis-à-vis the collegial bodies in the explanatory statement and other public documents and the absence of prior consultation with the members of the collegial bodies and non-public stakeholders has created a polarised environment between civil society and the Federal government on this topic.

In order to undertake a constructive review of the collegial bodies, and properly address the challenges of its participatory system, Brazil could consider reviewing the Decree n° 9.759, and adopting a new approach involving all relevant governmental and non-public stakeholders to elaborate an evidence based review of the collegial bodies that takes into account the challenges, as well as the opportunities of these participatory institutions.

The legal framework on citizen and stakeholder participation in Brazil is rich and comprehensive, with several laws and decrees at the Federal level contributing to the institutionalisation of participatory practices. With specific legislation addressing participation in each policy area, targeted group and for every collegial body, Brazil has a patchwork of dozens of legal provisions covering citizen participation (see Box 6.3). This is the case in the majority of OECD member countries, as data from the OECD Survey on Open Government (2020[13]) shows that 94% of OECD countries and Brazil have a law covering the participation of citizens and stakeholders in policy making and or service delivery, 92% on petitions or other forms of citizen’ initiatives and 85% regulate the collection of feedback by citizens. Brazil has adopted legislations on the four categories presented in Figure 6.3, which highlight its rich legal framework. Other OECD countries such as Colombia have adopted unified legislations to frame citizen participation, showing the path towards an integrated legal framework (see Box 6.5).

A legal framework, meaning a Decree or a Law that unifies the existing legal provisions, can improve clarity on the existing rights for the public to participate and the obligations for public authorities to involve citizens and stakeholders. On the citizen side, a unified and coherent framework can support awareness of participatory practices, improve levels of engagement and increase trust on their outcomes. On the public institutions’ side, it can support compliance and facilitate implementation. On an institutional perspective, a framework can also empower the authority in charge of its implementation, enhancing institutional stewardship in the area of participation and supporting inter-institutional coordination. In addition, it could help spotting overlaps between practices and reduce the administrative (and financial) burden due to a multiplicity of norms. Finally, on a participatory perspective, a framework could establish a common ground to ensure the quality of participation such as an equal participation of public authorities and non-public stakeholders in all collegial bodies. This framework should purse the alignments between the open government and the participation agenda, to create a common narrative and move towards an integrated open government agenda.

As recommended in Chapter 3, Brazil could include articles or a section on participation in the suggested review of Decree 10.160 from 2019 establishing the National Open Government Policy to detail the application of Article 193 of the Federal Constitution. Including elements of participation in the Decree 10.160, could support the integration of the open government and participation agendas, and support a common narrative and shared objectives, such as trust in government, stronger democracy and better policies and services. Otherwise, Brazil could also consider adopting a specific Decree on citizen participation, as the Decree n° 8.243 of 2014 which introduced the National Policy on Social Participation. In both scenarios, the Decree could review the Decree 9.759 of 2019, refer to the existing laws and decrees, establish the rights for citizens to participate in policies, services and strategic decisions, as well as the functioning of participatory instances such as the Councils, the Conferences and list the mechanisms for public institutions to involve citizens and stakeholders in public decision making. It could also include the participation of marginalized and underrepresented groups as well as the protection of the civic space as essential guarantors of a representative and inclusive participation. It could follow the example of the Statute of the City, which includes a chapter on Participation.

Alternatively, Brazil could consider the introduction of a specific law on citizen and stakeholder participation. Following the example of existing legislation such as the Law on Access to Information (Law n° 12.527 of 2011), a law on citizen and stakeholder participation could develop the Constitutional provisions (i.e. Article 193), provide elements of context (i.e. a definition and link to open government agenda), establish the scope (i.e. public institutions and policies targeted), inform about rights and obligations (i.e. mandatory consultations), list the mechanisms for citizens to exercise their rights to participate (i.e. Councils and Conferences), and build an institutional architecture to govern the participatory agenda (i.e. mandate and inter-institutional coordination).

As further discussed in Chapter 3, policy documents (strategies, roadmaps, plans, etc.) are a key part of the enabling environment for open government as they guide public authorities in the implementation of policy reforms. Brazilian public institutions publish regular policy documents on many topics, including strategic vision, as well as open government related areas: integrity, open data, digital government, etc.

This section provides an in-depth discussion of the use of policy documents to foster the implementation of participatory practices in Brazil. This section finds that Brazil has included elements of citizen and stakeholder participation in a diverse set of policy documents, such as the Open Government Partnership (OGP) action plans and the Multiannual Plans (PPA). However, these elements are scattered and Brazil does not have a dedicated policy document on citizen and stakeholder participation at the Federal level. Brazil attempted to establish a coherent framework with the Policy on Participation of 2014 but it was revoked in 2019.

As noted in Chapter 3, Brazil’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) action plans marked the first attempt to group different initiatives relating to the open government principles under the umbrella of the concept of open government and have been the main driver of Brazil’s open government agenda. Evidence collected by the OECD suggests that many Member and Partner countries have used their action plans to reinforce the framework for participation (e.g. as the Citizen Participation Councils and Legislation in Chile), develop trainings on participatory practices for public officials (e.g. Open Government Education in Spain), or create new digital participation platforms (e.g. Participa.br the digital platform for participation in Brazil).

Brazil has implemented four action plans, and is currently (June 2021) in the drafting process of its fifth plan (for more information on Brazil’s OGP Process and Action Plans, please refer to Chapter 3). As discussed in Chapter 3, Brazil’s OGP action plans have traditionally had a relatively strong focus on transparency and open data, with less emphasis given to commitments targeting citizen and stakeholder participation. However, the percentage of commitments regarding the participation agenda have gradually increased from 14% in the first Action Plan to 45% of commitments in the fourth (see a list of commitments in Box 6.6). Important milestones for participation in Brazil such as the 1st National Conference on Transparency and Social Control (CONSOCIAL) and the online platform for participation (Participa Mais Brasil) are outcomes of OGP Action Plans. Brazil could continue using the OGP Process to foster an inter-institutional dialogue on participation and use future action plans as an opportunity to improve Brazil’s citizen and stakeholder agenda. Brazil could for example consider including commitments to introduce an integrated legal framework on participation (i.e. a Decree on Citizen Participation), strengthen current practices (guidelines on public communications for Councils and Conferences) or pilot innovative approaches (a representative deliberative process).

At the national level, the Government of Brazil publishes two main national strategic policy documents, the Multi-annual Plan of the Union (Plano Plurianual da Uniao – PPA)8 and the National Strategy for Economic and Social Development for 2020-2031 (Estratégia Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social 2020-2031, ENDE) which mandate the general objectives of the Federal Government. Since 2008, the consecutive Multi-annual Plans of the Union (PPA) have been designed in a participatory manner, including citizen consultations and deliberative spaces such as the Council and inter-councils, and included citizen participation as a transversal policy objective (Government of Brazil, 2020[38]). For the 2008 – 2011 period, one of the Plan’s main objective was to “strengthen democracy, with gender, racial and ethnical equality, transparency, social participation and human rights” (Government of Brazil, 2008[39]). The 2012 – 2015 version included as an element of the “Vision of the Future” for Brazil (Government of Brazil, 2011[40]). In 2016, the PPA included the following strategic axis: “Strengthening Public Institutions, with citizen participation and control, transparency and qualitative public management” with concrete commitments to foster participation in policy making (Government of Brazil, 2015[41]). In contrast, the 2020 - 2023 PPA participatory design was reduced to an online consultation, without the inclusion of collegial bodies, or other representative instances and in terms of content, the current PPA does not mention citizen and stakeholders participation (Government of Brazil, 2019[42]). Practices from other OECD Member Countries could support Brazil’s integration of open government principles in high level policy documents. For example, Colombia included the notion of an open state and a cross-cutting on citizen participation in the 2018-2022 National Development Plan, with specific commitments to encourage openness and participatory practices at the institutional level (OECD, 2021[36]). In addition, every public institution (Ministries, Agencies, etc.) has to develop its own strategic plan to ensure their action is aligned with global government actions put forward by the above mentioned documents. The OECD found that a great number of public institutions have included elements that are related to the inclusion of citizens and stakeholders in their strategic plans (see Box 6.7).

The inclusion of elements in national strategic documents such as the PPA, or institutional documents, give the agenda a cross-policy perspective, high-level visibility, it anchors it in the long-term and connects it with other objectives of the government. It is an effective tool to put the open government principles, including participation, at the forefront of government action and create a culture of participation across government. Brazil could consider including clear milestones to increase participatory opportunities as part of its current National Strategy for Economic and Social Development for 2020-2031 (Estratégia Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social 2020-2031, ENDE) or the upcoming 2023 – 2026 multi-annual planning plan (Plano Plurianual da Uniao – PPA).

As discussed in detail in Chapter 3, policy documents (such as strategies, national policies, institutional plans, memos, action plans, etc.) give direction to a country’s policy agenda, outline objectives, detail initiatives to achieve them and facilitate monitoring and evaluation of reforms. Policy documents can further be a tool to harmonise practices across government, facilitate communication with internal and external stakeholder, and support accountability of public action. For the broader open government agenda, Chapter 3 finds that, while a number of policy documents are related and contribute to the open government principles such as the National Open Data Policy, but Brazil currently lacks an integrated whole-of-government policy framework for open government. Chapter 3 recommends that Brazil could consider designing a Federal Open Government Strategy to enable an integrated open government approach.

Brazil does not have policy documents on citizen and stakeholder participation to steer the vision and set objectives and milestones on this agenda at the federal and at the institution level. An attempt to create a Federal policy was introduced in 2014 with the National Policy on Social Participation (Decree n° Decree n° 8.243) but was revoked in 2019. In contrast, other open government related areas have dedicated policies such as the Digital Government for 2020-2022 (Estratégia de Governo Digital para o período de 2020 a 2022) or the Open Data Policy of the Federal Executive Branch (Política de Dados Abertos do Poder Executivo federal). At the institution level, the OECD found that many public institutions have included relevant elements on citizen and stakeholder participation in their implementation plans such as their Integrity Programmes, Open Data Plans and Digital Transformation Plans as shown in Table 6.4:

In line with the recommendations in previous sections and in Chapter 3, Brazil could complement the suggested harmonized legal framework with an overarching policy on citizen and stakeholder participation. Brazil could consider including a dedicated section on citizen and stakeholder participation in the recommended Federal Open Government Strategy (see Chapter 3). This section could include:

  • A common definition and vision for citizen and stakeholder participation in Brazil, creating an integrated narrative with other open government principles such as transparency (open data, access to information), accountability (ouvidorias, social control) and civic space (protection of rights and freedoms).

  • Guidance for public institutions to include participation in their Institutional Open Government Programmes (such as the templates provided for the Open Data Plans).

  • Concrete actions and commitments to involve citizens and stakeholders in policy making and service delivery in Brazil.

  • Mechanisms and tools to support the implementation of participatory practices and their impact (i.e. guidelines on public communications, toolkits for participatory practices, etc.)

  • Clear milestones and objectives (i.e. amount of public consultations, increase in number and diversity of participants, etc.)

  • Set standards for the monitoring and evaluation of participatory practices, allowing for a more evidence-based evaluation and support an informed reform of the participatory system in Brazil.

Alternatively, Brazil could consider developing an independent Federal Social Participation Strategy (Estrategia Federal de Participacao Social), such as the Digital Government Strategy. In this case, the Strategy should include obligations for public institutions to implement action plans or roadmaps to ensure its implementation with short and medium term milestones (such as the examples in Table 6.4.

In both scenarios, the policy framework should include tangible and measurable objectives, and clear institutional responsibilities to ensure leadership, stewardship and coordination among public institutions. The main coordinators of the participation agenda should be included in the design of the policy framework: the Comptroller General of the Union (Controladoria Geral du União, CGU), the Secretariat of Government of the Presidency of the Republic (Secretaria de Governo da Presidência da República, SEGOV) and the Casa Civil. The policy framework should include clear and defined roles and responsibilities among those institutions.

In case Brazil decides not to introduce an overarching policy framework for citizen and stakeholder participation, or as an implementation-oriented support to it, the country consider developing guidelines on how to integrate participation across all existing strategies and policies. The objective of these guidelines should be to ensure mainstreaming of participation across government, as well as support a coherent understanding and harmonisation pf practices in all public institutions.

The institutional setting for citizen and stakeholder participation differs across OECD Member and Partner Countries, as it strongly depends on the administrative and institutional architecture and the historical development of the agenda. In the majority of countries, the responsibilities are decentralized, with several offices sharing the mandate. (See Box 6.8 for examples of different institutional settings for citizen participation in OECD countries.) Evidence from the 2020 OECD Survey on Open Government (OECD, 2020[13]), shows that the 30 OECD countries surveyed have mandated an office(s) or an institution(s) with responsibilities regarding citizen and stakeholder participation. All OECD countries surveyed provide support to public institutions on how to consult and engage with citizens and stakeholders, 27 countries (90%) have an office in charge of strengthening relationships between government and civil society, and 25 countries (83%) provide technical support to public institutions on the use of digital technologies.

Chapter 3 analyses in detail the institutional framework for open government, and other chapters those related to transparency (Chapter 7), accountability (Chapter 8), open data (Chapter 9) and the protection of civic space (Chapter 5). This section looks at the institutional setting for citizen and stakeholder participation in terms of formal responsibilities and co-ordination mechanisms in place at the Federal level, and in every public institution to ensure that there is a coherent and effective implementation of the legal and policy framework. It finds that the institutional architecture for participation at the Federal level (formed by the CGU, the SEGOV and the Casa Civil) could be better defined to avoid blind spots and overlaps and to strengthen the integration with the wider open government agenda. At the level of individual public institutions, this section finds that in most institutions there is a lack of defined structure to lead and coordinate participatory practices.

Evidence gathered through the OECD Survey on Open Government Policies and Practices in Brazilian Public Institutions (2021), show that 70% of public institutions at the Federal level do not have a central unit or person in charge of the participation agenda. In 53% of public institutions, participatory processes are coordinated and implemented by individual teams, in 13% there was no coordination or process identified and in 4% the coordination is responsibility of each public servant (see Figure 6.6). The National Policy on Social Participation (Decree 8.243 revoked in 2019) attempted to address this challenge with a coordinated approach with focal points and a network of practitioners called the National System of Social Participation (see Box 6.5).

In addition of addressing the governance structure to coordinate participation at the Federal level, Brazil could consider establishing a decentralized mandate in every public institution, in an office or a person. This unit or person could be responsible of ensuring the implementation of the legal and policy framework, of harmonising practices in its institution, and provide support across the organisation. Brazil could consider including the mandate of coordination of participatory practices within the recommended Institutional Open Government Co-ordinators (Coordenadores Institucionais de Governo Aberto) (see Chapter 3).

To foster implementation and harmonized practices in all public institutions, the CGU could take the role of a Centre of Expertise and provide guidance and practical support to all public institutions (detailed in the section below). This could take the form of manuals or handbooks to guide public officials in the implementation of the legal and policy framework, or as technical tools to facilitate the organisation of participatory processes, as well as its monitoring and evaluation. A similar approach is observed in the Digital Transformation Strategy of Brazil, where a one-stop-portal provides resources and tools to implement the objectives of the Federal Strategy. Box 6.9 details the example of the Centre of Citizen Participation in France, an inter-ministerial centre of expertise that provides technical support as well a platform for participation and a community of practice to share good practices among public servants.

Historically, the participation agenda has been closely linked to the Presidency of the Republic, as since 2005, this agenda was overseen by the General Secretariat of the Presidency (Secretaria Geral da Presidência da República) (Government of Brazil, 2005[43]). The 2014 National Policy on Social Participation placed this office at the centre of the architecture of participation and provided with clear mandate to oversee the policy, monitor its implementation and articulate with all relevant actors and practices (Government of Brazil, 2014[44]). In 2015, the Secretariat of Government of the Presidency of the Republic (Secretaria de Governo da Presidência da República - SEGOV) was created as a separate entity, and inherited the participation agenda. Today, the Special Secretariat of Social Coordination (Secretaria Especial de Articulação Social) in SEGOV is mandated by Law 13.844 from 2019 and by the Decree 10.591 of 2020 to promote citizen participation at the Federal level and coordinate the relationship between the Federal Government and civil society organisations. The responsibilities of the Special Secretariat of Social Coordination are:

  • The interaction and articulation with non-public stakeholders including international organizations and civil society organizations;

  • Promote social participation (i.e. citizen and stakeholder) and implement participatory instruments in the interest of the Federal Government (Government of Brazil, 2020[45])

  • Articulate, support and systematize public consultations and social participation in public policies at the Federal level (Government of Brazil, 2020[45]);

  • Promote the use of the Participa Mais Brasil Platform (centralised digital platform for online consultations) (Government of Brazil, 2021[46])

SEGOV shares responsibilities in relation to citizen and stakeholder participation with two other public institutions: the Casa Civil and the Federal Comptroller General of the Union (Controladoria Geral du União - CGU). As part of its mandate to coordinate the open government agenda, CGU is responsible of the promotion of citizen and stakeholder participation in policy making and service delivery (see Chapter 3). In addition, the CGU is responsible for public participation in accountability mechanisms (social control), such as the Fala.br platform or the User Councils (Controladoria-Geral da União, 2020[47]). The Casa Civil is the third entity with a mandate related to participation. Decree N° 9759 from 2019 mandates Casa Civil to coordinate the participation of Federal public institutions in the collegial bodies (Councils and Conferences) and Decree N° 9191 from 2017 states that Casa Civil is the entity responsible of approving and coordinating public consultations organized by Federal public institutions. Evidence gathered during the interviews conducted by the OECD Secretariat, as part of the fact-finding mission, shows that a majority of stakeholders refer to SEGOV and CGU as the main actors in charge of the participation agenda in Brazil. The role played by Casa Civil in the participation agenda is rather recent (2017) which translates in a low level of awareness among key stakeholders such as public authorities, civil society organisations and members of collegial bodies interviewed by the OECD.

Brazil’s institutional setting for citizen and stakeholder participation as described above, has benefits and challenges. A positive point is that the participatory agenda is located within public authorities in the Centre of Government with Ministerial rank and with an inter-ministerial perspective, giving high-level visibility and a transversal vision to the agenda. However, different public authorities and non-public stakeholders interviewed for this review raised the concern of the lack of clarity and consistency on the institution leading the participation agenda.

The creation of an integrated legal framework and an overarching policy for citizen and stakeholder participation (see Figure 6.5) could represent an opportunity to redefine and clarify the intuitional mandates and responsibilities. At the Federal level, Brazil could consider reducing the public authorities with a mandate on participation to improve clarity, simplify coordination and coherence. The institutional setting could be divided in two levels: a policy stewardship (for coordination) and a centre of expertise (for support). For example, SEGOV could become the policy steward and have the responsibility to oversee the implementation of the legal and policy framework, as well as harmonize existing practices and instances. Building on the existing Special Secretariat of Social Coordination (Secretaria Especial de Articulação Social), Brazil could consider transforming it into a Special Secretariat for Social Participation (Secretaria Especial de Participacao Social). This entity could have the mandate to coordinate the collegial bodies (today under Casa Civil), as well as other practices at the Federal such as public consultations and ensure the implementation of the overarching policy described in previous section. The CGU could complement the SEGOV with a technical role, as a centre of expertise, ensuring implementation and guidance to all federal authorities, as well as harmonisation with open government practices.

Coordination among the different entities overseeing the same agenda is important to ensure coherence and support the move towards a common objective. The 2014 National Policy on Social Participation (see Box 6.5) introduced the Government Committee on Social Participation (Comitê Governamental de Participação Social) in charge of supporting SEGOV in the coordination of the participation agenda. This coordination body aimed at ensuring that all the public authorities with responsibility in the area of participation could have a space to share challenges, ensure coherence and coordinate joint actions (Government of Brazil, 2014[48]). However, this space was revoked in 2019 and currently, the only coordination mechanism where SEGOV, Casa Civil and CGU coordinate policies and practices related to participation is the Interministerial Committee on Open Government (Comitê Interministerial Governo Aberto, CIGA) in charge of coordinating the OGP Process in Brazil. As explained in Chapter 3, CIGA’s role remains largely limited to the co-ordination of the design and implementation of the OGP Action Plan and that its meetings have become less frequent and less productive over the past years. Interviewed stakeholders and data gathered by the OECD Survey (see Figure 6.6) point out to a lack of coordination as one of the main challenges to implement participatory practices in Brazil’s Federal Government.

Brazil could consider creating a dedicated institutional mechanism to ensure all the relevant public institutions are coordinated and working towards a shared objective. This governance structure should include SEGOV, CGU (and Casa Civil in the case Brazil does not purse a change in its institutional architecture as suggested), the Institutional Open Government Co-ordinators (Coordenadores Institucionais de Governo Aberto) as well all the relevant public institutions and selected representatives from the collegial bodies. Brazil could consider the inclusion of non-public stakeholders, as well as representatives from subnational authorities and from other branches of power, to ensure citizen and stakeholder participation practices are harmonized across the State in Brazil. This governance body could be part of the recommended Open Government Council (Conselho de Governo Aberto, COGA) as a subcommittee on participation (see Chapter 3).

Citizen and stakeholder participation is a well-established phenomenon in Brazil, with different mechanisms in place across all public institutions in the Federal and subnational levels of government, as well as in other branches of the State. Besides the use of traditional mechanisms such as public hearings and consultations, Brazil is considered as a democratic innovator, and the birthplace of internationally applauded innovations such as the participatory budget. In a recent study, the LATINNO project placed Brazil as the country with the largest number of democratic innovations in Latin America, gathering almost 112 million participants in the participatory processes organized from 1990 to 2020. Democratic innovations are defined by Pogrebinschi (2021[5]) as institutions, processes, and mechanisms whose end it is to enhance democracy by means of citizen participation in at least one stage of the policy cycle. (Pogrebinschi, 2021[5]).

Citizen and stakeholder participation in Brazil can be characterised by four waves of development (Pogrebinschi, 2021[5]). The first one shortly after the democratisation process, with 56 innovations created due to the introduction of participatory budgets at the Municipal level and the creation of Policy Councils. The second wave from 2000 to 2011 with 127 innovations created, is defined by the multiplication of the Councils and Conferences both at the national and subnational level. A third wave from 2012 to 2016 with 138 processes, follows the creation of the National System of Social Participation and the rise of digital processes. Data gathered by Pogrebinschi and evidence collected during the OECD fact finding mission, suggest that starting in 2016, Brazil has adopted a rationalisation approach vis-a-vis participatory processes, which reflects on the decrease of new innovations (62 for that period). As for many OECD countries, the COVID19 outbreak in March 2020 contributed to the decline of participatory opportunities in Brazil.

At the Federal level, almost all public institutions involve citizens and stakeholders at some point in their decision making process, whether in the design and delivery of public services or in drafting or implementation of a policy. According to data from the OECD Survey, in the past three years, 62% of surveyed public institutions have involved citizens and stakeholders at some point in their policy cycle, 59% in the design of public services and 50% in the delivery of those services. This participation is embedded in different moments of the policy cycle9, with 62% of public institutions involving citizens in the drafting stage and 56% at the identification stage. This number slightly decreases for the latest stages of the policy cycle, with 50% in the implementation stage and 44% during the evaluation of policies (see Figure 6.10).

In terms of practical implementation of participatory practices, Brazilian public institutions at the Federal level use diverse set of tools and mechanisms to involve citizens and stakeholders. Evidence collected through the OECD Survey shows that the most recurrent mechanism are collegial bodies such as Councils and Conferences, with 70% of public institutions having used this type of practice. Online tools for communication and consultation are also commonly used, whether social media channels (61%), institutional websites (47%) or the Federal platform Participa Mais Brasil (44%). More engaging methodologies like co-creation workshops or hackathons are less used with only 14.7% of public institutions having used such mechanisms (see Figure 6.11).

When looking at the frequency of the above mentioned participatory practices, the OECD Survey shows that providing information is the most recurrent activity, with 85% of public institutions providing information on policy development and implementation on a regular basis (among which 70% as a systematic practice). This first stage of citizen participation (information) is important to ensure an informed participation in more advanced stages such as consultation or engagement. Concretely, this refers to the publication of news, briefings and data on policies and the agenda for decision making in institutional websites, as well as social media or direct messaging (e-mail, WhatsApp, etc.). The regularity decreases in the next stages of the policy cycle (evaluation) as well as in more advanced types of participation (consultation and co-creation) as shown in Figure 6.10.

The data collected by the OECD highlight some trends: the provision of information is done on a regular basis, participatory opportunities are more important and regular in early stages of the policy cycle but decrease in later stages (evaluation) and the most used participatory mechanism are the collegial bodies (Councils and Conferences) and the use of digital tools for participation is important across Brazilian public institutions, for information but also for public consultations.

To increase the impact of citizen and stakeholder participation, Brazilian public institutions could increase the opportunities for participation in later stages of the policy cycle, especially during the implementation and the evaluation stages, and move beyond information and consultation to more engaging practices such as co-creation or deliberation.

Public consultations are part of the democratic landscape in Brazil and are widely used to gather opinions and inputs from citizens and stakeholders on a specific topic or normative text (legislation, regulation, policy, plan, etc.). The Government of Brazil defines public consultation as :

“a social participation mechanism, of a consultative nature, carried out within a defined period of time and open to any interested party, with the objective of receiving contributions on a given subject. It encourages the participation of society in decision-making regarding the formulation and definition of public policies.” (Government of Brazil, 2021[46])

Public consultations are institutionalised by Decree 9191 of 2017 which contains a chapter providing guidelines for their organisation and mandating the Casa Civil as entity responsible at the Federal level. Public consultations are used by the executive branches at the Federal and subnational levels, as well as by other branches such as the legislative. Some consultations are purely informative, while others are binding or have a direct impact in the decision making process.

Many of the consultations organized by Brazilian public institutions relate to the development of regulations. Law 13,848 of 2019 on Federal Regulatory Agencies establishes the conditions and requirements for Agencies to consult citizens and stakeholders (Government of Brazil, 2019[49]):

Article 9: Drafts and proposals aiming to modify any normative act of general interest to economic agents, consumers or users of the services provided shall be the object of public consultation, prior to a decision by the executive board or the collegiate board of directors.

§ 1 Public consultation is the instrument in support of the decision making through which society is previously consulted, with inputs that can take the form of critics, suggestions and contributions by any interested parties, about the proposal of regulatory norm applicable to the sector of activity of the regulatory agency.

In 2019, the OECD published the Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance for Latin America, taking into account the adoption of good practices to engage with interested parties when developing new regulations, including different methods and openness of consultations as well as transparency and response to comments received (OECD, 2019[50]). The OECD found that Brazil has strengthened the requirements for citizen and stakeholder participation, although the consultations were not always conducted or were not given any follow up. To address the challenges, the OECD (2019) suggested that Brazil could consider expanding the legal requirements and practices to all regulators, involve stakeholders in late-stages of the decision making process and experiment with more innovative and impactful mechanisms for citizens and stakeholders to influence regulation beyond consultations (OECD, 2019[50]).

Public institutions at the Federal level use consultations to involve citizens and stakeholders in other areas beyond regulation, such as their strategic documents, in design and delivery of public services and in the drafting of policies. Evidence gathered by the OECD during the fact-finding mission and the OECD Survey suggest certain good practices as well as areas of improvement for public consultations at the Federal level. On a positive note, as shown in Figure 6.13, 88% of public authorities collect metrics or quantitative data on their consultations, which can support a better evaluation of the process. In addition, Brazil has good practices such as the public consultation for the Marco Civil da Internet detailed in Box 6.10

In terms of opportunities to improve public consultations in Brazil, the majority of non-public stakeholders interviewed during the OECD fact-finding mission pointed out that public authorities do not systematically provide feedback to participants or communicate the results of the process. This is also true when looking at the public consultations published in the Participa Mais Brasil platform, where public authorities have a specific feature to provide feedback to participants. However, this feature was only used for % of the consultations available in the platform10.

In that sense, Brazil could consider issuing guidelines for all public institutions with practical support to organize consultations, and ensure they provide feedback to participants and communicate the results of the process. These guidelines could be part of the resources provided by the CGU and its suggested approach as a Centre of expertise and included in the recommended Open Government Toolkit (Chapter 3).

The creation of centralised participation platforms, where public institutions publish consultations and engagement opportunities is a widespread practice among OECD Member and partner countries. These centralised participatory portals have the advantage of providing a “one-stop-shop” portal for citizens and stakeholders to learn about past, current and future opportunities for participation. In 2020, 27 out of 32 OECD countries (85%) had government-wide participation portals used by all ministries at the central/federal level to publish consultation and engagement opportunities. Brazil is part of this trend, and has both a centralised government-wide portal (Participa Mais Brasil) as well as institution-specific portals (Figure 6.15).

An initial version of this centralised portal for participation was published in 2014 (Participa.br) which gathered 371 communities and 31 756 users registered. In 2020, this platform evolved into the Participa Mais Brasil portal, a one-stop-shop portal for all public institutions at the Federal Government, as well as subnational governments (States and Municipalities) under the responsibility of the Special Secretariat for Social Coordination in the Secretary of Government (Secretaria de Governo – SEGOV) (Government of Brazil, 2021[46]). The platform allows the public to directly provide inputs to online participatory processes (consultations and polls), and get information from other in-person opportunities (public hearings and Councils). Since its creation, public institutions (Ministries and Agencies) have published 172 consultations and 44 opinion polls gathering 34 063 contributions from 25 154 users registered11 (Government of Brazil, 2021[46]). An interesting good practice integrated in Participa Mais Brasil portal is the possibility for public authorities to provide feedback for each consultation published in the platform. Once the consultation is closed, the platform allows public authorities to answer each contribution, and publicly approve or reject the input received. However, as detailed above, public authorities provided feedback only for 8 consultations out of the 142 closed processes in the platform. In addition, the platform provides data and information on participants (type of stakeholder, geographical area, age group, etc.), which is useful information to monitor and evaluate the quality of the participatory process and enhance representation in future processes.

In addition to the Participa Mais Brasil, all public institutions have a “social participation” section in their institutional website, where they publish opportunities for citizens and stakeholders to participate. In some cases, the institutional website redirects to the centralised portal (Participa Mais Brasil), but this is not always the case. In fact, data from the OECD Survey shows that 44% of public institutions at the Federal level use the centralised platform to consult citizens and stakeholders and 47% use their institutional website.

Government-wide participatory portals, such as Participa Mais Brasil, are a good practice among OECD countries. In this sense, Brazil is going in a right direction, as the existing platform can support the harmonisation of practices among public institutions, facilitate the interaction with citizens and stakeholders, and simplify the access to participatory opportunities. In addition, this platform enhances the provision of feedback to participants after their participation, and support transparency and accountability on how public authorities use the inputs received. However, the use of this platform is not yet generalized across the Federal Government, with almost half of surveyed institutions still using their institutional website to interact with the public. This in turn creates overlaps between the two platforms and hinders the benefits of having a centralised participatory portal. To ensure the Participa Mais Brasil platform is used across the Federal government, Brazil should pursue the dissemination of the platform, and provide support to both clusters of users: organisers (public institutions) and participants (citizens and stakeholders).

In many countries, the OGP action plan process served as a starting point to create an open government agenda and involve an increasing number of institutions in it. While most countries’ first OGP action plans often focused on the commitments that were related to the competences of the co-ordinating institution, they usually involve more and more public institutions from across government, as well as non-public stakeholders. This also applies to Brazil. An analysis of the institutions involved in Brazil’s four OGP Action Plans so far indicates that institutional participation has widened significantly over the years.

While there were barely any other than the lead institutions from the federal executive power involved during the first two actions plans, the involvement of other types of stakeholders skyrocketed during action plans 3 and 4. When looking at the supporting institutions, there is an important number of non-public stakeholders, such as CSOs, think tanks and associations. Further, organisations from other branches of power, subnational government, academia and others start to become involved in action plans 3 and 4 (Figure 6.16). The trend of increased participation beyond the federal executive branch becomes equally clear when counting the number of unique institutions. Brazil’ first OGP action plan involved no more than five federal government agencies and most of the commitments were in fact implemented by the CGU. The second action plan already engaged 19 federal government institutions. The third action plan saw the participation of 48 government agencies from all levels of government (i.e. federal, state and municipal levels) and the current fourth action plan involves 39 institutions from the federal public administration and 10 institutions from the state and municipal levels, as well as the legislature and the judiciary.

The participatory process for the OGP Action Plans includes consultation and co-creation steps and is recognized both by public authorities and non-public stakeholders as a constructive space for dialogue and interaction. The Process has evolved since the first action plan in 2011, improving the mechanisms for stakeholders to engage along with government representatives. Drawing from interviews of non-public stakeholders during the fact-finding mission as well as data presented in the OGP Action Plans (Government of Brazil, 2021[51]) and recommendations given by the Independent Report Mechanism evaluations (Steibel, 2020[52]), Brazil could consider the following areas of improvement for the OGP participatory methodology:

  • Increase the diversity of the actors, especially in terms of territorial representation and policy areas beyond transparency and open data;

  • Include non-public stakeholders in the final stage of the process, where the decision is taken;

  • Organize in-person mechanisms for the first stage of the process, to increase participation and inclusion,

  • Increase the opportunities for citizens (without affiliation) to influence the process, and

  • Learn and share good practices with subnational OGP process, such as Sao Paulo’s OGP Local Process.

The Government of Brazil, through the CGU, could implement this methodology of participation, combining online consultations and in –person co-creation activities, in other policy areas or other strategic documents at the Federal level, such as the recommended Federal Open Government Strategy.

As discussed earlier in this Chapter, the OECD understands participation as a continuum of practices going from low-impact to high-impact mechanisms. The impact is understood as the possibility for citizens and stakeholders to shape the process itself and to influence the final decision. Data and evidence collected as part of the OECD Survey, as well as desk research and throughout the interviews, suggest that most of the participatory practices at the Federal level correspond to the provision of information and consultation of citizens and stakeholders. Participants are rarely involved in shaping the issues to be addressed by their participation, and their inputs are not always linked to a final decision. Nonetheless, the OECD has collected some good practices of more engaging opportunities for citizens and stakeholders to influence policies and services through mechanisms such as co-creation platforms, hackathons and deliberative bodies.

Open innovation practices, such as crowdsourcing, hackathons or public challenges, are a way for public authorities to tap into the collective intelligence to co-create solutions to specific public challenges (GovLab, 2019[53]). These practices are usually used to convene expertise from citizens and stakeholders to find ideas or inspiration, prototype and test solutions or to improve services or methods. The use of public challenges to solve policy problems is starting to pave its way as a co-construction mechanism in other OECD member and partner countries. For example, similar approaches exist in the United States (Challenge.gov) or in Argentina (Desafios Publicos).

In Brazil, the National School for Public Administration (Escola Nacional de Administração Pública – ENAP) implemented the open innovation platform Challenges (Desafios) as a way to involve citizens and stakeholder in solving pressing public issues such as the COVID crisis (see Box 6.11). A similar approach exists in the the Federal Chamber of Deputies as an open space for technical communities to co-develop tools to foster legislative transparency and participation (for more information on the HackerLab, please see Box 6.19).

To move towards to more engaging practices at the Federal government, Brazil could encourage all federal institutions, including Ministries and Agencies, to use the Desafios platform, to organize hackathons, or establish open spaces (such as innovation labs) to foster co-construction practices. Brazil could also consider merging or including the Desafios section in the centralised participation platform (Participa Mais Brasil) to support coherence and harmonisation of online digital participation.

Participatory budgeting (PB) is a democratic way for people to have a direct say on how public money is spent. It began in 1989 in Porto Alegre in southern Brazil (population 1.4 million) and has expanded to more than 436 municipalities across the country. The spread of participatory budgeting practices in Brazil spread rapidly from 1996, and is now in place in more than 200 Municipalities (IADB, 2005[54]). This democratic innovation has been exported to all continents, and today there are more than 11,000 participatory budgeting experiences around the world (Dias, Sasil and Simone, 2019[55]).

A participatory budget (PB) refers to mechanisms that allow citizens and stakeholders to influence public decisions through the direct allocation of public resources to priorities or projects. Those resources are usually pre-defined by the public authorities, meaning that a dedicated budget is decided prior to the process. The majority of PB processes are organized by subnational governments (Municipalities), however it’s important to take into consideration those experiences organized by other levels of government such as regional, state and national. For example, in Portugal, a national participatory budget is in place as of April 2021.

In Brazil, PB is used to allow citizens to overview and influence the decisions on public budgets and spending, as well as shape local planning at the municipal level. PB has an impact on many policy areas, but most commonly PB results are directed to infrastructure, basic public services and sanitation measures. These processes have proven to be an effective tool to involve citizens and stakeholders in public decisions, with concrete and tangible impacts on inclusion, democratic quality and social wellbeing. There is evidence that the adoption of participatory budgeting (PB) in subnational entities (mainly Municipalities) in Brazil is associated with an increase in health public spending, stronger civil society organisations and a decrease in infant mortality (Touchton and Wampler, 2014[57]). This trend is accentuated when PB mechanisms are institutionalised and implemented over a longer period of time. In addition, PB supports social inclusion and increases diversity in public decisions, as data shows that traditionally excluded groups such as lower-income segments of society and women have higher participation in PB processes than in other democratic processes. This in turn impacts the allocation of resources into the real needs of the communities, and increases redistribution and the social dimension of public spending. For example, data collected by the Inter-American Development Bank (2005[54]) shows that in Municipalities with PB, recurrent themes selected for investment are housing, education, street paving and basic sanitation, and in general, the proportion of public spending in lower income areas is higher. Finally, the opportunity to shape budget decisions and interact with public authorities in the negotiation phases, strengthens the civic responsibilities of the population, supports the legitimacy of public action and fosters a relationship based on trust.

This Review does not aim at providing a detailed analysis of the subnational open government agenda in Brazil, but it acknowledges that participatory mechanisms at the subnational level are very rich, with high impact in citizens’ lives. The OECD suggests to conduct further analysis and research with the subnational level of government to provide recommendations that aim at increasing citizen participation at the local level.

The Colegiados (collegial bodies is the term that will be used throughout the Chapter) are participatory instances institutionalised by a normative text (Constitution, law, decree, regulation, etc.) to involve stakeholders in specific policy areas, government functions or topics. The role of a collegial body can vary from binding opinion, regulation, and advice to co-ordination among stakeholders. These instances are collegial and deliberative by nature, with the objective of reaching consensus among their members. Many collegial bodies have a national and a subnational representation, as per Brazil’s federative nature. A normative act usually details the temporality (which can be permanent, or ad-hoc), the composition, the rules and the role played by the collegial body. As shown in Figure 6.11 collegial bodies are the method used most regularly to involve stakeholders in policy making in Brazil.

Research shows the important diversity of collegial bodies in Brazil, which in 2019 amounted to close to 1 300 active instances (Rosa da Silva, da Silva Pereira and Bezerra Bassani, 2020[26]). The analysis presented here focuses on the two most common types of collegial bodies that have been implemented at the National and subnational levels, on multiple policy areas and that have produced concrete and tangible results: the National Councils and the National Policy Conferences.

The Councils and Conferences are the backbone of the participatory system in Brazil, as a space for non-public stakeholders to inform policy making and provide recommendations to policy makers. They allow for participation of government representatives (public officials, elected members, etc.) and non-public stakeholders (civil society organisations, union representatives, etc.) rather than individual citizens. However, in recent years, the Councils and Conferences have become a space of confrontation rather than of constructive deliberation. Civil society has perceived some of the government actions towards the Councils and Conferences as attacks to these participatory institutions, especially the decrees (including Decree 9.759) affecting the election of its members (Tanscheit and Pogrebinschi, 2017[58]).

The Councils and Conferences share some similarities such as the high degree of institutionalisation (e.g. the Constitution and / or subsequent legislation) or their deliberative nature. However, both mechanisms have different objectives, scopes and methodologies.

Public Policy Councils (hereafter Councils) have been a central piece of the democratic infrastructure in Brazil since the 1988 Constitution, and even before as the Health Council was created in 1944. IPEA (2013) defines the Councils as:

Public spaces linked to the Executive Branch, with the purpose of enabling the participation of society in the definition of priorities, as well as in the formulation, monitoring and evaluation of public policies.

The Councils are permanent mechanisms for stakeholders to participate in policy making and service delivery by informing and advising the decision making and by monitoring the implementation as well as the use of public money (Teixeira, de Paiva Bezerra and Kunrath Silva, 2019[59]). The Councils cover almost all policy areas and have usually a body at the national as well as subnational - State and Municipal- level. This is due to the prerogatives that the subnational level has as per Brazil federative nature.

The National Public Policy Conferences (hereafter Conferences) are nation-wide participatory processes that aim to enable dialogue and deliberation between governmental stakeholders and society to facilitate the public’s contribution to policy making (Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA, 2013[60]). The Conferences are a widespread participatory practice in Brazil, with 97 Conferences organized between 1988 and 2011 in almost all policy areas, with health and social policies being the most regular topics (see Figure 6.11) (Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA, 2013[60]) (Pogrebinschi, 2014[61]). Conferences have a multi-level approach to allow for representation in all levels of government and across the territory (see Figure 6.18).

The Councils and Conferences have demonstrated concrete and tangible impact in policy making and service delivery. A recent study on municipal health management in Brazil shows that the Health Councils had a positive impact on the reduction of corrupted practices at the local level. The analysis concludes that the municipalities that integrated a Council in their governance structure witnessed a 21% decrease in corruption practices over 10 years (Avelino, Barbeira and Biderman, 2014[63]). The impact on the reduction in corruption is proportional to the time of existence, meaning that for each additional year of existence of the Council, the percentage of federal health grants to municipalities that were subject to corrupt practices fell by 2.1% (Avelino, Barbeira and Biderman, 2014[63]). The Conferences have delivered concrete results, with for example the creation of the Universal Health System (SUS) by the Health Conference.

The impact of the Councils can also be measured by its ability to influence and shape public decisions. In this sense, 74% of Council members’ interviewed by (IPEA, 2013[64]) have the impression that the Council influences the decisions taken by the Ministry or Agency of the respective policy area, but 52.6% think that it fails in having an impact on the legislative power and 53% on public opinion. This suggests a disconnection between the deliberations in the Councils, other public institutions and the broader public. In quantitative terms, (Pogrebinschi and Santos, 2014[65]) found that about 26% of all proposals coming from the Conferences were incorporated into some sort of policy proposal12. Besides their normative impact, Pogrebinschi (2018[66]) also notes that the Conferences are an important source of information for the legislative power. Between 2003 and 2010, Congress proposed 1477 bills, enacted 125 laws and six constitutional amendments on the same policy issues recommended by the Conferences. However, the impact of these processes is hindered by several factors.

Information and data about the Councils and Conferences is key for transparency and accountability of these bodies, as well as to ensure that the public is able to understand their workings, and support their deliberations. As of today, Brazil does not have a centralised platform or database with all the existing Councils and Conferences, their members, their normative act, their agendas, deliberation and decisions. The platform Participa Mais Brasil is a positive step towards achieving this goal, however, it currently includes data on a limited amount of bodies and the information is still fragmented across institutional websites (as of July 2021). A good example is the Panel of Collegial Bodies published by the Ministry of Environment, which includes information about all the Councils where the Ministry is represented. The Panel provides information about each body, as well as aggregated information such as the share of bodies with non-public representation (36.7%). Brazil could improve the publication of centralised information and data on all collegial bodies, in a federal one-stop-shop portal13, to allow for better monitoring and evaluation of these practices, and support a stronger connection with the broader public.

The OECD collected good practices of the use of public communications that could be expanded or generalized. This is the case of certain Conferences, such as the Cities or the Health Conferences or certain Councils, such as the Environmental National Council which have a dedicated website with accessible information on the process, the members, the agenda and the outcomes. These collegial bodies also make use of social media to communicate with a broader audience. However, there is a lack of harmonisation about the way collegial bodies communicate, the regularity and the mechanisms used. Public communications campaigns could increase the involvement of citizens and the public in general in the workings of these stakeholder engagement practices, and enhance the impact of its results. To support collegial bodies, Brazil could consider issuing public communication guidelines, or providing practical support to strengthen the connection between the Councils and Conferences and the public.

Finally, the Councils and Conferences could take a system approach and include other non-deliberative or non-collegial mechanisms such as public consultations, or digital voting platforms to increase the scope of participants and reach out to a broader audience. These mechanisms could be integrated at the beginning to establish priorities (agenda setting through petitions), throughout the collegial deliberations to inform or collect inputs (streaming or public consultations), or in the final stage to prioritise the proposals (public vote via a digital platform).

Councils and Conferences have an impact on the diversity of actors involved in policy making and service delivery. These participatory spaces allow for the inclusion of a diverse range of voices and views to enrich the policy discussion, enhancing the quality of policies and services and ensuring a geographical and social adaptation (Avritzer, 2012[67]). The Councils can give voice to underrepresented or marginalised groups with dedicated bodies such as the National Council to fight Discrimination against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual communities, which is responsible to support, analyse and present recommendations for policies and actions directed to the LGBTI community in Brazil (Feitosa Pereira and Silva Santos, 2017[68]). The Conferences allow for large-scale dialogue and interaction between government representatives and non-public stakeholders. Even if the exact number depends on each Conference, (IPEA, 2013[64]) calculates that on average 117.128 people participate in one Conference (including all stages)14. The number varies among Conferences, with the lowest number of participants being 4.763 and the highest 524.461. In the majority of Conferences, participants are predominantly non-public stakeholders with 63% of participants compared to 37% representing governmental stakeholders (Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA, 2013[60]). In addition, certain Conferences have put in place quotas to ensure that certain groups usually underrepresented in the public debate can have a voice in these processes, this is the case for example of women, youth or indigenous populations.

Nevertheless, in a research published in 2013, IPEA found that the diversity of the Councils’ members could be strengthen to better represent the Brazilian society. The research covered more than 700 counsellors in 21 Councils, and showed than in average, 63% of members are men, the majority self identifies as white (66%) and 58% have between 40 and 60 years old. IPEA found other gaps in the diversity of the members such as education levels and socio-economic status. This challenge has been exacerbated by the Decree 1959, as civil society organisations and members of the academia interviewed by the OECD pointed out that the Decree closed too many participatory spaces, affected the diversity of voices in the Councils, becoming a threat to representation and participation in Brazil (Gurza Lavalle and de Paiva Bezerra, 2021[31]). For example, the National Environment Council (CONAMA), saw a drop from 22 seats for civil society to four, with none for indigenous and traditional peoples, and a new method for selecting representatives – from election to a draw (Chamber of Deputies, 2019[69]). Another example is the National Commission for Biodiversity (CONABIO) which membership was reduced to 2 seats instead of 8 for civil society. These bodies provided valued opportunities, some for more than ten years, for civil society actors to exchange with government, bring their expertise and views to the table, claim collective rights and contribute to decisions affecting their lives and communities (United Nations Human Rights Office of High Commissioner, 2020[70]).

When it comes to the Conferences, the OECD found that there is a lack of evidence of who participates at the initial stage (municipal level), where participation is open and not exclusive to elected delegates as for the State and National levels (see Figure 6.18). As noted by Samuels and Pogrebinschi (2014), it is strongly possible than the participants at the municipal level are the “usual suspects” or the already heavily involved in community organising or civil society organisations. In addition, the self-selection process to participate at the municipal level, narrows the diversity of the pool of potential candidates to become delegates in the subsequent stages (Samuels and Pogrebinschi, 2014[71]). This limits the diversity of delegates and thus of voices in the State and National stages, and channels the views of a certain category of already politicised and informed population.

To increase diversity and inclusion, Brazil could consider reviewing the recruitment criteria and methodology for both Councils and Conferences. Councils could consider establishing minimum thresholds for non-public representation (equal basis) and Conferences should collect reliable data on who participates to improve the representation beyond the “usual suspects”, especially in initial stages at the Municipal level.

Councils and Conferences could also increase the participation of citizens (without affiliation) by experimenting with innovative approaches to recruit participants, such as random selection and stratification. Known as civic lottery, these methodologies can ensure representation beyond a geographical scope, with other variants such as political views, gender, age and socio-economic status. This type of recruitment methodology is widely used in representative deliberative processes and has proven to be effective to increase diversity and inclusion (OECD; 2020). These newer approached could be accompanied by financial support to encourage an equal participation, especially from traditionally excluded members of society (childcare for women, transport costs for rural population, translation for indigenous populations, etc.).

OECD research and evidence collected during the fact-finding mission suggest that the impact of both Councils and Conferences is hindered by a lack of coordination, harmonisation and coherence. Every Council and every Conference has a specific set of rules in terms of agenda, organisation, participants, type of outcomes, as well as the scope and scale of the process. This is not to say that all processes should follow a standardised model, as the OECD understands the specificities of each policy area and the historical background of each Council and each Conference. However, a certain harmonisation or coherence of these practices could be positive to facilitate coordination, support evaluation, and increase understanding and acculturation from public authorities and non-public stakeholders. This harmonisation effort could also support the collection of comparable data to monitor and better evaluate the impact of these processes.

This challenge is also raised by Council members, when interviewed by IPEA (2013[64]) the majority mentioned concerns about the complexity of the system, the lack of coordination with other Councils and Conferences, as well as the articulation with the subnational entities. Drawing from these interviews, IPEA (2013[64])recommended that to increase the articulation and collaboration between Councils and Conferences, especially with the subnational level. This articulation between collegial bodies could also be supported by a stronger collaboration with public authorities at all levels of government. Teixeira also identified certain overlaps in topics and issues covered by both Council and Conferences, with an existing challenge to create synergies between different participatory bodies by improving dialogue and joint actions between different collegial bodies.

The Government of Brazil attempted to create a harmonized framework for all participatory bodies, including the Councils, with the National Policy on Social Participation, which was never properly implemented and revoked in 2019 by the Decree 9.759. Brazil could consider establishing coordination mechanisms or communities of practices for Councils and Conferences members, as a way to incite dialogue and build bridges between participatory instances. This coordination between Councils / Conferences and broader participatory instances and public authorities could be part of the missions of the suggested Conselho de Governo Aberto. These efforts could also be supported at the institutional level, by giving the mandate of overseeing the collegial bodies to SEGOV, already in charge of other participatory practices and the articulation with civil society. To support harmonisation and a constant quality among all the collegial bodies, Brazil could consider issuing good practice principles or guidelines to support organizers and establish a common ground in terms of participants (scope, recruitment methodology, share among public and non-public), the participation methodology (informative sessions, deliberation, vote, etc.) and the regularity of these processes. In this sense, the OECD developed the Good Practice Principles for Deliberative Processes that can be of inspiration for Brazilian National Conferences and Policy Councils.

When asked about the main challenges for citizen and stakeholder participation at the Federal level in Brazil, 44% of respondents reported that the main blockages are both the lack of resources and staff and the lack of awareness of the public. The second category of challenges is related to the training and guidance, both for public officials (mentioned by 35% of respondents) and for citizens and stakeholders (mentioned by 26% of respondents) (OECD; 2021).

In addition to the above mentioned challenges, Brazil’s civic space is shrinking and increasingly polarised. As discussed in detail in Chapter 5, a healthy and protected civic space is key for an impactful participation and is a precondition for an open government. In recent years, Brazil has seen its civic space challenged by rising violence, attacks on minorities and journalists and an increasing polarisation in society.

Every participatory process requires dedicated resources to be successfully implemented and result in useful outputs for decision makers. The necessary resources vary depending on the design and implementation of the process. The resources can be human, financial, and/or technical.

  • Human resources: Participatory processes (even when completely virtual), require sufficient staff to organise the process, recruit participants, develop information resources, facilitate interactions, answer requests, communicate, analyse and synthesise the inputs, etc.

  • Financial resources: As with every democratic process, participatory processes need dedicated financial resources to cover the cost of human resources, meeting venues and catering, digital platform licenses, public communication, honorarium payments to participants, costs of participants’ childcare/transport, etc.

  • Technical resources: More and more processes are using digital tools for communication, receiving participants’ inputs, and/or processing/analysing the inputs received. Technical resources can encompass development of digital tools, software licenses, computers, tablets, cloud services, etc.

Evidence gathered by the OECD reveals that in the majority of Federal public institutions, there is not a dedicated unit, team or person in charge of citizen and stakeholder participation. This responsibility is added to the existing duties of public officials. In addition, the Ministries co-responsible for the participation agenda in Brazil (SEGOV, CGU and Casa Civil) do not have a dedicated team or staff in charge of supporting other federal institutions in implementing participatory practices. Chapter 4 suggests that an Open Government Co-ordinator in every public institution could have as part of their responsibilities, the implementation of participatory practices. This Chapter also suggests that the CGU could have a technical role, like a centre of expertise, to support other public institutions in the implementation of participatory processes.

In addition to a lack of human resources, non-public and public authorities interviewed as part of the OECD fact finding mission pointed out a decrease of financial resources available for participatory processes recent years. This decline echoes the decrease of support from public authorities to initiate participatory mechanisms. Pogrebinschi (2021) shows that from 2015 to 2020, there is a strong decline in participatory processes organized by public authorities. The suggested Policy on Participation could be a driver to increase public support for participatory practices in Brazil.

As highlighted by the (OECD, 2021[72]), the use of public communications to inform the public about participatory opportunities and their results, can increase the number of participants, strengthen the legitimacy of the results and widen the audience of these practices. Data collected by the OECD shows that the use of public communication for participation is a limited practice in federal institutions in Brazil. As Figure 6.21 shows, 35% of public authorities at the Federal level use external communications to inform about opportunities for citizens and stakeholder to participate and 38% use them to inform about the results of such processes.

To further develop the use of public communications for participation, Brazil could consider issuing guidelines for public institutions and collegial bodies on how to communicate externally with the public. These guidelines could also be accompanied by technical support, or regular communication campaigns across the Federal government. To increase awareness of the public, and as discussed in Chapter 4, the CGU could strengthen its civic education programs, directed today only to elementary students, opening up to a broader public. Public authorities could partner with civil society organizations such as Politize15, an organization supporting civic education through interactive and accessible content directed to young audiences.

Brazilian civil society is very diverse and vibrant, has expertise on a variety of sectors (environment, health, etc.) and has proven to be a good ally partnering with public authorities to increase the impact of participatory processes. NGOs, businesses representatives, trade unions, etc. have been active in the collegial bodies and other participatory instances such as the consultation for the Marco Civil da Internet and participatory processes at the local level. As Figure 6.18 shows, civil society has also been an active player in promoting participation in Brazil, with 117 democratic innovations16 initiated by civil society in Brazil from 1990 to 2020 (Pogrebinschi, 2021[5]). However, as Chapter 5 on the protection of the civic space highlights, there has been a steady deterioration in the environment for civil society to operate and an increasing polarized atmosphere in the country.

Civil society stakeholders interviewed for this Review expressed their concern for the decrease of participatory opportunities and the quality of the processes in recent years. It is evident that the COVID 19 crisis affected the organization of many in-person processes, but this concern dates to some years ago. The steady decrease of support to participatory spaces, the revocation of the National Policy on Social Participation and the Decree 9759 which closed many collegial bodies, have been perceived as “attacks” against the participatory culture and the civic space in Brazil. Finally, the attacks against minorities, the media, activists and civil society organisations from high level members of the current administration have raised concerns in Brazil and at the international level. These actions have contributed to a polarized atmosphere in the country, which hinders the quality of the interactions between non-public stakeholders and public authorities. The closing of the civic space can have a direct impact on the level of inclusion of participation. As pointed out in Chapter 5, Brazil should protect its vibrant civic space in order to allow for equal, informed, secure and inclusive participation. Civil society can become an important ally in reinforcing the open government agenda in Brazil, as their expertise in organizing participatory processes suggest.

As mentioned in the introduction, information is considered by the OECD as the first level of participation. The rising spread of dis- and misinformation online and the manipulation of public opinion are putting this first step towards an informed participation at risk. Chapter 5 provides evidence of the current situation in Brazil as well as a set of recommendations to support the Government in building a resilient digital information ecosystem.

The increasing complexity of policy making and the failure to find solutions to some of the most pressing policy problems have prompted politicians, policy makers, civil society organisations, and citizens to reflect on how collective public decisions should be taken in the twenty-first century. The evidence from more than 300 cases gathered in OECD’s Catching the Deliberative Wave: Innovative Citizen Participation and New Democratic Institutions Report (2020[12]) shows that the use of representative deliberative processes can support policy makers in complex policy problems such as values-driven dilemmas (e.g. ethical questions) and long-term issues that go beyond one electoral cycle (e.g. climate change). In addition, the use of public deliberation can strengthen integrity and prevent corruption by ensuring that groups and individuals with money and power cannot have undue influence on a public decision and can help counteract polarisation and disinformation (OECD, 2020[12]).

The OECD (2020[3]) defines a representative deliberative process as:

When randomly selected citizens, making up a microcosm of a community, spend significant time learning and collaborating through facilitated deliberation to develop informed collective recommendations for public authorities.

Public authorities at all levels of government in countries such as Canada, the United States, Spain, Poland and Japan have been using Citizens’ Assemblies, Juries, Panels, and other representative deliberative processes (see Box 6.17 for more examples).

Deliberation17 is a core component in many institutionalised participatory bodies and practices in Brazil. Examples of these include the collegial bodies (Councils and Conferences) as well as the assemblies and forums of the participatory budgets (OECD, 2020[12]). The LATINNO database, which documents democratic innovations in Latin America, has over 200 democratic innovations registered in Brazil, out of which 92% are deliberative (Pogrebinschi, 2021[5]). However, this deliberation is not always facilitated or evaluated and participants are not selected via civic lottery (random selection).

Brazilian civil society, with the support of the United Nations Democracy Fund, has been experimenting with public deliberation and civic lottery for policy making since 2012. The non-profit organisation Delibera Brasil has implemented six pilots of deliberative mini-publics at the Municipal level with tangible impact and good results (see Box 6.18). Building on these experiences, and the evidence gathered by the OECD (2020[12]), Brazil could support the use of representative deliberative processes for public decision making. Different scenarios are possible for the inclusion of public deliberation and civic lottery in public decision making in Brazil:

  • The collegial bodies (Conferences and Councils) could become a laboratory to experiment with these methodologies making Brazil a pioneer in large scale institutionalised deliberative processes. Random selection of citizens with stratification methods and facilitated deliberation could improve inclusion and representation in both the Councils and the Conferences and bring citizens (as individuals) into these processes. Representative deliberative processes (e.g. mini-publics) could, for example, complement the working groups, and provide informed recommendations to be discussed by the delegates in the Plenary. This approach could be part of the Municipal, State and National stages.

  • The use of these methodologies could improve the deliberative stages of municipal participatory budget or broader participatory mechanisms at the local level, as piloted by Delibera in the municipalities of Fortaleza and Sao Paulo (Romão Netto and Cervellini, 2021[75]). Evidence gathered by the OECD (2020) shows that the use of representative deliberative processes could improve budget decisions as they help to justify action and spending on long-term issues that go beyond the short-term incentives of electoral cycles issues, as they are designed in a way that removes the motivated interests of political parties and elections, incentivising participants to act in the interests of the public good (OECD, 2020[12]).

  • For any scenario, it is important to note that the goal is not to replace or compete with elected representatives (such as elected delegates in the Councils and Conferences, or vereadores at the local assemblies), but rather complement and enrich the work of elected assemblies. This is the case of the deliberative commissions in the Brussels’ Region Parliament or the Citizen Council in Paris for example (see Box 6.18)

The use digital tools for citizen and stakeholder participation is a widespread practice at all levels of government around the world. Brazil is no exception, with several good practices of digitally enabled participation at all levels of government as well as in other branches such as the Legislative. Brazilians are able to vote (in legislative, subnational and federal elections), follow and influence the law making process and provide comments to policies and services through digital tools. These technologies also played an important role to support civil society and amplify social movements, such as the 2014 protests prior to the World Cup in Brazil. For Pogrebinschi and Chaves (2021[77]), digital technologies in Brazil have the potential of broadening the spaces of participation to traditionally excluded publics, by facilitating access to electoral means, diversifying the public debate and by supporting the creation of non-geographical communities.

However, when implementing digital participatory processes, public authorities have to take into consideration the existing “digital divides (i.e. the fact that societies can be divided into people who do and people who do not have access to - and the capability to use - digital technologies) and avoid the emergence of new forms of “digital exclusion” (i.e. not being able to take advantage of digital services and opportunities). ​​​ Men, urban residents and young people are more likely to be online than women, rural populations and older persons (International Telecommunication Union, 2021[78]). The digital divide in Brazil is defined by geographical, infrastructural, demographic, economic, gender and cultural aspects. In 2019, 26% of the population in Brazil did not have access to the internet, and among internet users, the inequalities between urban, rural and gender are very important (International Telecommunication Union, 2020[79]). A way to tackle the digital divide, public authorities should always propose a non-digital alternative to ensure the inclusion of digitally excluded populations. Participatory processes, as well as public services, should aim at equality of access and participation. Non-digital alternatives can be for example: physical vote, consultations via phone or any other in-person mechanisms (workshops, kiosks, paper mail, etc.). For example, when Mexico City launched a participatory process to co-create its new Constitution, citizens and stakeholders could participate through a digital platform but also via a network of digital kiosks in public spaces and through paper surveys in flea markets, subway stations, and other places that did not have internet coverage (GovLab, 2018[80]).

To ensure digital technologies are an opportunity for participation, Brazil could consider issuing guidelines for public authorities to ensure universal access and inclusion when using digital tools. In addition, Brazil could partner with researchers and technical communities to establish good practices on the ethical use of technology and ensure its compatibility with democratic values. Lastly, public authorities could invest in building common public digital infrastructures that are collaborative, transparent and accountable (such as the Wikilegis open source platform in the Congress).

  • Consider establishing a coherent and harmonized definition of citizen and stakeholder participation common to all public institutions at the Federal level in Brazil. This definition could be part of the open government definition included in the recommended Federal Open Government Strategy.

    • This definition should aim enlarging the narrow vision and understanding of participation that focuses on control and consultation and differentiate citizen participation (participacao social) from electoral participation (participacao popular) and social accountability (control social).

  • Consider creating an integrated legal framework on citizen and stakeholder participation that compiles the existing provisions to facilitate implementation and ensure coherence. This legal framework could be an opportunity to detail the application of Article 193 of the Federal Constitution. It could take a variety of forms:

    • Articles or a section on participation in the suggested review of Decree 10.160 from 2019 establishing the National Open Government Policy (see Chapter 3).

    • A dedicated decree or legislation on citizen and stakeholder participation.

  • Consider creating an overarching policy (or strategic document) for citizen and stakeholder participation to streamline the vision across government, enforce stewardship and support implementation. This policy document should have an integrated vision, concrete action and measurable objectives. This policy framework could take a variety of forms, with different degrees of impact:

    • High impact: a dedicated section on citizen and stakeholder participation in the recommended Federal Open Government Strategy and guidance to incorporate participation elements in the Institutional Open Government Programmes (see Chapter 3).

    • Medium impact: A dedicated policy or strategy on citizen and stakeholder participation.

    • Low impact: Guidelines to integrate participation across all existing strategies and policies, including the OGP Action Plan.

  • Consider using the OGP Process to foster an inter-institutional dialogue on participation and use future action plans as an opportunity to improve Brazil’s citizen and stakeholder agenda. Brazil could for example consider including commitments to introduce an integrated legal framework on participation (i.e. a Decree on Citizen Participation), strengthen current practices (guidelines on public communications for Councils and Conferences) or pilot innovative approaches (a representative deliberative process).

  • Establish clear institutional responsibilities for participation and strengthen its link with the open government coordinator (CGU) to ensure stewardship and coordination among federal public institutions and coherence among both agendas. Brazil could consider reducing the public authorities with a mandate on participation to simplify coordination to two levels:

    • Policy stewardship and coordination: a Special Secretariat for Secretariat for Social Participation (in SEGOV)

    • A centre of expertise for technical support and coherence with open government (CGU)

  • Consider the creation of an inter-institutional coordination mechanism to oversee the implementation of citizen and stakeholder participation across the federal government. Brazil could consider including this mechanism as a subcommittee on citizen participation in the recommended National Open Government Council (see Chapter 3).

  • Consider including the coordination of participatory practices as part of the mandate of the recommended Open Government Office or contact point in all Federal institutions.

  • Encourage public institutions to increase the opportunities for participation in later stages of the policy cycle, especially during the implementation and the evaluation stages.

  • Establish guidelines at the Federal level to harmonize consultations, and ensure public institutions provide feedback to participants and communicate the results of the process.

  • Pursue the dissemination of the Participa Mais Brasil platform, and provide support and guidance to all relevant stakeholders, to ensure all federal public institutions make use of the centralised participation platform.

  • Make use of the established methodology for participation in the OGP Process, which combines online consultations and in –person co-creation activities, in other policy areas or other strategic documents at the Federal level, such as the recommended Federal Open Government Strategy. Take into consideration the following elements to improve the methodology:

    • Increase the diversity of the actors, especially in terms of territorial representation and policy areas beyond transparency and open data;

    • Include non-public stakeholders in the final stage of the process, where the decision is taken;

    • Organize in-person mechanisms for the first stage of the process, to increase participation and inclusion,

    • Increase the opportunities for citizens (without affiliation) to influence the process, and

    • Learn and share good practices with subnational OGP process, such as Sao Paulo’s OGP Local Process.

  • Support the move beyond information and consultation to more engaging practices such as co-creation. Encourage all federal institutions, including Ministries and Agencies, to use the Desafios platform, organize hackathons, or other practices such as participatory budgeting. The Desafios platform could be merged within the Participa Mais Brasil platform to support coherence and harmonisation.

  • Consider reviewing Decree 9.759 of 2019 to ensure the Councils are efficient, representative and inclusive. A reform of the Councils should include the following considerations:

    • Undertake a mapping exercise of all existing Councils, including their membership, mandate, outcomes, costs, etc. This data should be public to enhance transparency and generate opportunities for collaboration.

    • Consult all relevant stakeholders such as Council members, experts, public officials, and civil society representatives throughout the process.

    • Aim at making the Councils useful for both governmental stakeholders as well as citizens and non- governmental stakeholders by providing more clarity and creating stronger links between the deliberations, public bodies and society in general.

    • Explore the use of digital tools for Council deliberations as an alternative to in-person meetings in order to reduce costs.

  • Consider a certain harmonisation or coherence of the Conferences to facilitate coordination, support evaluation, and increase understanding and acculturation from public authorities and non- governmental stakeholders. Consider issuing a set of guidelines for the organization of Councils and Conferences, including:

    • participants (scope, recruitment methodology, share among public and non-public);

    • participation methodology (informative sessions, deliberation, vote, etc.);

    • regularity of organisation;

    • impact of recommendations.

  • Establish equal representation of non-public stakeholders and government representatives as a minimum requirement for all Councils and Conferences.

  • Support the diversity of participants, especially at the initial stages in the Municipal level to include actors beyond the “usual suspects”. Conferences could experiment with innovative approaches to recruit participants, such as civic lottery and stratification.

  • Consider including other non-deliberative or non-collegial mechanisms such as public consultations, or digital voting platforms as part of the Councils and Conferences to increase the scope of participants and reach out to a broader audience. These mechanisms could be integrated at the beginning to establish the priorities of the Conferences (agenda setting through a public consultation), throughout the process to provide inputs to delegates (public hearings or consultations) or in the final stage to prioritise the proposals (public vote via a digital platform).

  • Consider issuing public communication guidelines, or providing practical support to strengthen the connection between the Councils and the public.

  • Strengthen the synergies between these Councils and formal structures of decision (Ministries, Agencies, States, Municipalities, legislative power, etc.)

  • Consider issuing good practice principles or other resources to support organizers and ensure a constant quality across Councils and Conferences. In this sense, the OECD developed the Good Practice Principles for Deliberative Processes that can be of inspiration for the Brazilian Government.

  • Ensure that dedicated resources are available and secure at the Federal level to support the implementation of participatory processes.

  • Support the participation of under-represented groups by generalizing reaching out campaigns and providing tailored support such as digital training or cover transport costs.

  • Improve the use of public communications for citizen and stakeholder participation by issuing guidelines for public institutions and collegial bodies on how to communicate externally with the public. These guidelines could also be accompanied by technical support, or regular communication campaigns across the Federal government.

  • Systematize the collection of metrics and the evaluation of participatory processes.

  • Consider enlarging the civic education programs of the CGU to a broader public beyond elementary students.

  • Include the protection of the civic space as a core element of the participation agenda, in order to allow for equal, informed, secure and inclusive participation.

  • Consider the use of representative deliberative processes for public decision making.

    • The collegial bodies (Conferences and Councils) could become a laboratory to experiment with these methodologies making Brazil a pioneer in large scale institutionalised deliberative processes. Random selection of citizens with stratification methods and facilitated deliberation could improve inclusion and representation in both the Councils and the Conferences and bring citizens (as individuals) into these processes. Representative deliberative processes (e.g. mini-publics) could, for example, complement the working groups, and provide informed recommendations to be discussed by the delegates in the Plenary. This approach could be part of the Municipal, State and National stages.

    • The use of these methodologies could improve the deliberative stages of municipal participatory budget or broader participatory mechanisms at the local level, as piloted by Delibera in the municipalities of Fortaleza and Sao Paulo.

    • For any scenario, it is important to note that the goal is not to replace or compete with elected representatives (such as elected delegates in the Councils and Conferences, or vereadores at the local assemblies), but rather complement and enrich the work of elected assemblies. This is the case of the deliberative commissions in the Brussels’ Region Parliament or the Citizen Council in Paris for example.

  • Support accessibility and inclusion in all digitally enabled participatory processes by ensuring public authorities are using non-digital alternatives.

  • Consider issuing guidelines or provide practical support to help public authorities promote an ethical use of technology and the development of tools that are compatible with democratic values.

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Notes

← 1. Brazil has a unique set of participatory institutions, the colegiados, which include policy councils and policy conferences aiming at providing a space for stakeholder representation. Their objective is to allow for the participation of society in the formulation of policies, the design of public services and the monitoring of government action. See Table 5.1 for more information.

← 2. Fala.br is an online platform created and managed by the CGU to replace what was formerly known as the e-SIC. It is an innovative platform that allows citizens to not only request information, but also to make complaints or claims against any federal body, express satisfaction or dissatisfaction for a service or programme, and provide suggestions for improving or simplifying public services. For more information, please see Chapter 7 on Transparency.

← 3. This is the case for example of health policies, as participatory practices emerged prior to the 1988 Constitution.

← 4. It is important to note that the first National Health Council was created in 1937 but was not autonomous and its members were designated by the Minister.

← 5. Brazil’s first Council on Education was created in 1911, but was not autonomous from the Ministry.

← 6. This provision was sanctioned by the Federal Supreme Tribunal as a Decree can not revoke provisions from a higher norm in this case a legislation.

← 7. Casa Civil answer to a request to access public information on this matter: http://www.consultaesic.cgu.gov.br/busca/dados/Lists/Pedido/Attachments/1339447/RESPOSTA_PEDIDO_RESP%20NUP%2000077_001694_2019_27_13_06_2019%20-%20CC.pdf

← 8. The PPA 2020 – 2023 is available online: https://www.gov.br/economia/pt-br/assuntos/planejamento-e-orcamento/plano-plurianual-ppa/arquivos/Lein13.971de27dedezembrode2019.pdf

← 9. The OECD understands the policy cycle as the following stages: definition, drafting, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

← 10. As of September 2021.

← 11. As of December 2021.

← 12. From a sample of three types of Conferences on Public Policies for Women, Food and Nutritional Security and Social Assistance organized from 1990 and 2010.

← 13. The Casa Civil mentioned in an answer to a request of public information that a centralised platform to access information on all the collegial bodies would be published in late 2020. This portal was not mentioned in any interview or questionnaires addressed to the Casa Civil, and has not yet being published (in July 2021). http://www.consultaesic.cgu.gov.br/busca/dados/Lists/Pedido/Attachments/1385237/RESPOSTA_PEDIDO_RESP%20NUP%2000077_000731_2020_13_25_03_2020%20-%20CC%20-%20(2)%20NI%20LAI%20n%20053%20-%2000077.000731_2020-13.pdf

← 14. From a sample of 37 Conferences organized between 2003 and 2011 and that provided detailed documentation

← 15. https://www.politize.com.br

← 16. Democratic innovations are defined by Pogrebinschi (2021) as institutions, processes, and mechanisms whose end it is to enhance democracy by means of citizen participation in at least one stage of the policy cycle.

← 17. The OECD (2020[12]) understands deliberation as public deliberation (in opposition to internal deliberation) and to group deliberation (in opposition to individual deliberation), which emphasises the need to find common ground. The fundamental distinction between deliberation and debate is in relation to the objective, whether it is consensus-seeking as in the former, or zero-sum as in the latter. For this reason, dialogue is an essential element of deliberation (Yankelovitch, 2001). Successful deliberation requires skilful facilitation – “just enough to allow the group to make its own decisions and find its own way when the going gets rough but to keep the group working well” (Carson, 2017). For more information and research on deliberation, please refer to OECD’s Report Catching the Deliberative Wave: Innovative Citizen Participation and New Democratic Institutions (2020[12]).

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