4.1. Participation in the open government policy cycle

The participation of stakeholders in public decision making is at the heart of open government. To this end, Provision 8 of the OECD Recommendation on Open Government calls on countries to grant all stakeholders equal and fair opportunities to be informed and consulted and actively engage with them in all phases of the policy cycle – design, implementation and monitoring – and service design and delivery (OECD, 2017). In order for stakeholders to be meaningfully engaged in all policy areas, open government strategies and initiatives themselves should also be designed, implemented and monitored in a participatory way. Participation of a broad group of stakeholders throughout the policy cycle can ensure that open government policies and initiatives benefit from their expertise and perspectives and end up serving the diverse needs of various groups.

Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries are making clear efforts to involve a range of non-governmental stakeholders, (civil society organisations, academia, the private sector, citizens and trade unions) in the design stage of developing open government policies. However, levels of engagement tend to decrease in the later policy phases. For example, eight of the surveyed LAC countries involve trade unions in the design phase of open government policies, but this decreases to three countries in the implementation phase, and none in the monitoring phase. There are similar reductions in engagement for most stakeholder groups during the implementation phase and even less countries involving these groups during the monitoring phase (Figure ‎4.1).

When stakeholders participate in the design of open government policies, it helps ensure that they are well-informed, balanced and address the concerns of all relevant parties. Civil society organisations participate in the design phase of open government policy documents in all 15 of the surveyed LAC countries, while academia is involved in 12 out of 15 (80%). Citizens are involved during the design phase in 11 out of 15 surveyed LAC countries (73%), while only 9 countries (60%) involve business organisations and 8 (53%) involve trade unions (Figure ‎4.2).

The active involvement of stakeholders during the implementation of open government policies allows for real-time feedback which can lead to policy adjustments based on on-the-ground realities. Similarly, engaging stakeholders during the monitoring phase provides feedback from those affected by the policy, which helps address unforeseen challenges and adapt policies to evolving circumstances or those that were missed during the design stage. Again, civil society organisations stand out, with 14 out of 15 surveyed LAC countries (93%) involving them during both implementation and monitoring phases. However, the same level of engagement is not extended to all groups. Private sector business organisations are included in only eight countries during the implementation phase (53%) and in only six during the monitoring phase (40%). Citizens’ participation also falls during these later stages, with only 3 out of 15 of the surveyed LAC countries (20%) consulting them during the implementation phase, and 4 out of 15 (27%) during the monitoring phase. Trade union participation is even less common with only three of the surveyed LAC countries (20%) consulting them during the implementation phase and none during the monitoring phase (Figure ‎4.3).

Data were collected through the OECD Survey on Open Government, conducted between November 2020 and March 2021, and the OECD-IDB Survey on Open Government, conducted in 2022 in 15 Latin American and Caribbean countries. Respondents were delegates to the OECD Working Party on Open Government who co-ordinated the response across their respective governments.

Citizens refer to individuals, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation or religious and political affiliations. The term is meant in the wider sense of “an inhabitant of a particular place” and not the narrower sense of “a legally recognised national of a state”.

Non-governmental stakeholders are any interested and/or affected party, including individuals, institutions and organisations, from civil society, academia, the media or the private sector.

Participation is understood as all the ways in which citizens and stakeholders can be involved in the policy cycle and in service design and delivery, including providing information, consultation and engagement. In particular, consultation entails is a two-way relationship in which stakeholders provide feedback to the government and vice versa. Engagement refers to a process in which stakeholders are given the opportunity and the necessary resources they need to collaborate during all phases of the policy cycle, and in service design and delivery.

Further reading

OECD (2020), Innovative Citizen Participation and New Democratic Institutions: Catching the Deliberative Wave, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/339306da-en.

OECD (2017), “Recommendation of the Council on Open Government”, OECD Legal Instruments, OECD, Paris, https://legalinstruments.oecd.org/en/instruments/OECD-LEGAL-0438.

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