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At the completion of the process, One biosecurity: A Working Partnership (also known as the Beale Report) was submitted to the Australian Government. It described the current situation, summarised the comments received, and presented recommendations. The Australian Government released its preliminary response to the report in December 2008, agreeing in principle with all 84 recommendations and outlining the corresponding actions the government intended to take. The response is publicly available online, along with updates on progress with reform.
Source: OECD (2010), Australia: Towards a seamless national economy, OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform, OECD Publishing:
Ensuring that consultation practices are effective requires establishing a monitoring and review system, including a set of evaluation indicators. It is important to ensure that stakeholders’ views are actually used to inform decision-making, and not just to justify a decision already taken. Demonstrating the value of consultation by gathering evidence on its impact can also help minimise political resistance to engagement. Countries can use qualitative methods and indicators to evaluate and improve the quality of the review process. Capacity building for consultations and engagement across the government needs to take place and a network enabling the sharing of good practices across the government should be established.
Finally, simply granting access to public consultations may not lead to an inclusive policy process. In order to ensure inclusiveness, governments should lower the barriers (e.g. distance, time, language, access) for those who wish to participate. Governments should also build the capacity of citizens so that they can participate effectively and increase the appeal of consultation and participation initiatives (OECD, 2009d).
Inclusive implementation and evaluation: partnering with citizens
Citizen participation is also important for policy implementation, evaluation and feedback.
Different forms of active engagement can move governments beyond traditional consultation processes to more interactive and potentially inclusive forms of participation. There is increasing evidence that collaboration with citizens and service users can help tackle service failure, improve democratic governance, builds public trust, and drive innovation in the public sector.
Participatory budgeting: strengthening role of citizens in allocation of the public purse Participatory budgeting gives citizens a direct role in the allocation of public budgets. In doing so, it provides citizen taxpayers with a say in how public monies are spent on the services that affect them.
Broadly speaking, five criteria need to be met: “(1) the financial and/or budgetary dimension must be discussed; participatory budgeting involves dealing with the problem of limited resources; (2) the city level has to be involved, or a (decentralised) district with an elected body and some power over administration (the neighbourhood level is not enough); (3) it has to be a repeated process (one meeting or one referendum on financial issues does not constitute an example of participatory budgeting); (4) the process must include some form of public deliberation within the framework of specific meetings/forums (the opening of administrative meetings or classical representative instances to ‘normal’ citizens is not participatory budgeting); (5) some accountability on the output is required” (Sintomer et al, 2008, pg. 168).
In recent years, participatory budgeting has been implemented in a number of cities around the world (Box 4.8).
Box 4.8. Participatory budgeting in selected OECD municipalities
Toronto, Canada: Since 2001, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) has used a participatory budgeting process to involve tenants in budget decision-making as part of their Tenant Participation System.
Originally called Community Based Business Planning, the budgeting process has allowed tenants to decide how to spend $9 million per year, or 13% of the TCHC's capital budget. The TCHC is the largest social housing provider in Canada and second largest in North America, with 164,000 tenants housed in over 350 high and low-rise apartment buildings and 800 houses and duplexes. With an average income of $15,400, TCHC residents are generally lowincome individuals and families. Many residents are new immigrants, elderly, disabled, or single parent families, which are some of the most marginalised populations in Toronto.
Morsang-sur-Orge, France: This municipality is a middle class suburban city with a population of around 19 500.
In 1998 the administration created eight neighbourhood councils open to all residents. Elected representatives also participate in order to discuss proposals with the community but they do not have voting rights. Each council was allocated EUR 60 000 for local projects and they have full autonomy to decide how these resources are spent.
Together the councils control 20% of the city’s investment budget. In 2002 the municipality expanded popular participation by introducing five thematic workshops where residents and politicians meet to discuss projects for the municipal budget. The results are then presented to the municipal council.
Berlin-Lichtenberg, Germany: Berlin-Lichtenberg is a borough in Eastern Berlin with 251 000 residents. The borough consists of 13 districts. The participatory budgeting project allows citizens to discuss and express their preferences with regards to discretionary fields, including support of public health, business counselling, planning parks and free space, libraries, general support for children and adolescents, cultural services of public institutions, school of music, voluntary services by senior citizens, care of senior citizens, sports, care of street greenery, care of street trees, care of parks, care of playgrounds, and schools for continuing education. Each year, the borough allocates €31 million to implement citizens' preferences and suggestions.
Seville, Spain: Inspired by the example of Porto Alegre in Brazil, participatory budgeting was introduced in Seville in 2004. The city of 700 000 people is divided into 21 assemblies, which were attended by around 9 000 people in 2006. The assemblies have their own constitution, known as ‘autorreglamento’, which was drafted by a commission of delegates elected by the assemblies. Each year the council decides the amount to be allocated by the assemblies, but at least 50 percent of the city’s budget for local districts is within their control. Currently, the city council’s departments of public works, sport, youth, education, culture, environment, health and gender have opted to join. The assemblies choose delegates to monitor the execution of policies; they are accountable to the assemblies from which they were elected. Participatory budgeting has led to the construction of a network of cycle lanes across the city, as well as several swimming pools and sports grounds. Urban renewal programmes, such as the construction of new drains and pavements, have also been undertaken in poorer neighbourhoods and priorities agreed for repairing schools.
Source: OECD (2011), OECD Territorial Reviews: The Gauteng City-Region, South Africa, OECD Publishing.
Co-production: moving beyond consultation to stakeholder engagement in planning and delivery Co-production is based on the premise that public services work better when designed and delivered in partnership with citizens. Co-production corresponds to the direct involvement of individual users and groups of citizens in the planning and delivery of public services. Partnering with users and citizens has emerged as an alternative route to traditional service delivery approaches (i.e. supply-side schemes and command and control models) and as a result of trends already underway in OECD countries (i.e. client orientation, service personalisation). It represents a step forward from public consultation as it involves a more in-depth and systematic association of citizens and users who are not only consulted but also help to create the services. For example, governments co-produce with citizens when they release information which is then re-used by citizens to create or improve services (e.g. combing information on local bars and crime data to help people plan safer routes home), or when they partner with citizens or volunteer groups to monitor the physical conditions of public infrastructures and services or to increase safety in their neighbourhood.
Co-production can improve outcomes through community involvement and tackle service failures while promoting inclusiveness and participation. At a community level, co-production can lead to service improvements, for example when local residents and NGOs take over local amenities, such as parks and libraries that are under threat and reorganise them as multi-functional spaces for care assistance, capacity building and training, and local cultural events. Co-production schemes have also been used to involve society to identify solutions to problems which cannot be solved by government acting alone (e.g.
climate change, water shortage) and that can lead to social exclusion (e.g. obesity and other chronic health conditions) (Box 4.9). At an individual level, co-production which builds on input from service clients can deliver positive results in tackling service failures and lead to reduced cost for the public purse. For example, in the area of juvenile justice, engaging young people as advocates of good behaviour can lead the way to young offenders’ reinsertion in society. Peer-to-peer support schemes can be used in schools as a way to tackle achievement gaps, promote greater inclusiveness and participation.
Box 4.9. Improving water supply: the São Francisco Project (Brazil)
In Brazil, a partnership between governments, public entities, civil society and private sector organisations has been set up as a way to find solutions for the improvement of water supply in the North-East region of Brazil. The São Francisco Project is a national level initiative which aims to integrate São Francisco to watersheds in the north-east region of Brazil in order to supply potable water to 12 million people in the states of Pernambuco, Paraíba, Ceará and Rio Grande do Norte by 2025.
Civil society organisations are involved in social and environmental programmes which form part of the project.
They co-decide on questions related to social aspects, such as the decision to relocate the affected families or participate in the monitoring of the welfare and satisfaction of citizens during and after the execution of the project.
The rural population directly affected by the project initially showed resistance to changes however the co-production process made it possible to discuss and define their priorities.
As a result, citizens concerned by the project have access to health and education services, sanitation infrastructure and technical assistance to develop irrigated crops on their land. The affected families have their living conditions improved due to relocation. In native communities, actions are taken towards developing craftsmanship to raise the income of families. The effect of the project is a modification of labour structures in the region permitting the social and economic development of the communities involved.
Source: OECD (2011), Together for Better Public Services: Partnering with Citizens and Civil Society, OECD Public Governance Reviews, OECD Publishing.
Enhancing citizens’ role in evaluation Evaluation is an important part of refining public policies. Participatory evaluation, which places stakeholders at the centre of assessing the success of policies and programmes, can improve the usefulness of evaluation results. Its advantage is that it raises the likelihood that the outcomes of an evaluation will be accepted as relevant by all stakeholders and will provide the leverage needed to ensure that outcomes are used as a basis for future actions (a common shortcoming of independent evaluations). Furthermore, public participation is a cost-effective way to access empirical information on the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact, and sustainability of public policies. Most OECD countries are still at the early stages of this type of public engagement. Embedding this type of approach requires a substantial investment in building capacity of participants and provision of methodological support. (OECD, 2009b) Citizens’ contributions to evaluation can extend to legislation as well. Those most able to make a case for particular policies often have the greatest influence (i.e. powerful lobby groups). Hence, mechanisms can be put in place to help those with less access and influence make their case. Legislatures and specific committees often have a mandate to collect evidence (both written and oral) from experts, pressure groups and citizens directly affected by legislation. In addition to hearings, interviews and focus groups, legislatures may commission case studies of different regions, social or economic groups within society to gain a detailed perspective. They may also use polling data to tap into views from a cross-section of the public. In 2009, for example, the UK Better Regulation Executive commissioned a survey of the general public and the business sector to ascertain their views on the effects of regulation (OECD, 2012c).
Ex post legislative evaluation can also be used to understand the ways in which the public has been affected by a law and identify ways in which citizens may want to amend it.
4.2. Pursuing a comprehensive approach to building inclusive institutions Co-ordination across government departments and across levels of government Given the multi-faceted character of Inclusive Growth, effective administration and coordinated action across multiple policy domains and levels of government are crucial. Identification of policy complementarities may make it possible to generate better outcomes in terms of combining growth and inclusion. Improved co-ordination at the policy level may also help to resolve the political economy challenges associated with Inclusive Growth. Bundling reforms together in cross-sectoral packages may make it easier to reach agreement on reforms, as the costs and benefits of policy initiatives can be more widely distributed, and those threatened by one measure may benefit from another (Tompson, 2009; Olofsgård, 2003).
The OECD has long stressed the need for such co-ordination, emphasising “whole-ofgovernment” approaches or “joined-up government”. Not least, it is essential that strong links are established between national, government-wide strategic planning processes, which are usually multi-year in character and driven by the centre of government, and the annual budgeting and resource-allocation processes, which are driven by the central budget authority. Tools such as medium-term expenditure frameworks, performance-related budgeting and periodic reviews of expenditure allow for these correspondences to be clarified and reinforced.
In practice, implementing a whole-of-government approach is difficult and many policies continue to be made in sectoral “silos”. While achieving a government-wide approach involves many challenges that need to be addressed (e.g. coordination costs, political turf battles, lack of incentives to collaborate, insufficient resources for collaborative working, budgetary implications of horizontal and
vertical coordination), two key challenges tend to stand out:
To identify and implement mechanisms, such as for cross-sectoral or inter-governmental consultations, which ensure that co-ordination takes place. Such mechanisms facilitate policy coherence and, wherever possible, help to realise potential complementarities among different strands of policy.
Identify the policy interactions that matter most in terms of the “knock-on effects” of one policy on others. The distributional consequences of environmental policies, for example, need to be considered and addressed in parallel with environmental policy reforms, not afterwards.