Encouraging public participation and trustPresentation Transcript
Encouraging public participation and trust John Aderibigbe [email_address] www.dutconsulting.com
Public participation is a political principle or practice, and may also recognised as a right ( right to public participation ). The terms public participation may be used interchangeably with the concept or practice of stakeholder engagement and/or popular participation.
Generally public participation seeks and facilitates the involvement of those potentially affected by or interested in a decision. The principle of public participation holds that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process. Public participation implies that the public's contribution will influence the decision. 
Why encourage public participation in planning, problem solving and policy making?
First of all, it's a good idea.
Second, collaborative decision making is an idea that works.
Third, public participation is often required by state statute or federal law.
Model of Participation and Trust
A model was constructed to include five intermediate factors that might link participation and trust: consensus building, ethical behaviors, accountability practices, service competence, and managerial competence. As expected, participation does explain a significant amount of public trust. However, using path analysis, only two intermediate factors—ethical behaviors and service competence—were found to significantly contribute to trust. Even successful consensus-building activities are not likely to enhance trust unless administrative performance improves. These results indicate that if increasing public trust is the primary goal, then the primary focus should be on administrative integrity and performance results.
In some countries public participation has become a central principle of public policy making. In the UK it has been observed that all levels of government have started to build citizen and stakeholder engagement into their policy-making processes. This may involve large-scale consultations , focus group research, online discussion forums, or deliberative citizens' juries.
Public participation is viewed as a tool, intended to inform planning, organising or funding of activities. Public participation may also be used to measure attainable objectives, evaluate impact, and identify lessons for future practice.
In the USA public participation in administrative rulemaking refers to the process by which proposed rules are subject to public comment for a specified period of time. Public participation is typically mandatory for rules promulgated by executive agencies of the US government. Statutes or agency policies may mandate public hearings during this period.
The Rio Declaration
The Rio Declaration of 1992 enshrines public participation in its 27 principles. Principle 10 states that "environmental issues are best handled with participation of all concerned citizens, at the relevant level”. The Rio Declaration continues, drawing a close link between access to information and public participation:
"At the national level, each individual shall have appropriate access to information concerning the environment that is held by public authorities, including information on hazardous materials and activities in their communities, and the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes. States shall facilitate and encourage public awareness and participation by making information widely available. Effective access to judicial and administrative proceedings, including redress and remedy, shall be provided."
In recent years loss of public trust in authorities and politicians has become a widespread concern in many democratic societies. Public participation is a regarded as one potential solution to the crisis in public trust and governance, particularly in the UK , Europe, and other democracies. The idea is that public should be involved more fully in the policy process in that authorities seek public views and participation, instead of treating the public as simply passive recipients of policy decisions.
Public participation core values
Public participation is based on the belief that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.
Public participation includes the promise that the public’s contribution will influence the decision.
Public participation promotes sustainable decisions by recognizing and communicating the needs and interests of all participants, including decision makers.
Public participation seeks out and facilitates the involvement of those potentially affected by or interested in a decision.
Public participation seeks input from participants in designing how they participate.
Public participation provides participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way.
Public participation communicates to participants how their input affected the decision.
Public participation Code of Ethics
Purpose. We support public participation as a process to make better decisions that incorporate the interests and concerns of all affected stakeholders and meet the needs of the decision-making body.
Role of Practitioner. We will enhance the public’s participation in the decision-making process and assist decision-makers in being responsive to the public’s concerns and suggestions.
Trust. We will undertake and encourage actions that build trust and credibility for the process and among all the participants.
Defining the Public’s Role. We will carefully consider and accurately portray the public’s role in the decision-making process.
Openness. We will encourage the disclosure of all information relevant to the public’s understanding and evaluation of a decision.
Access to the Process. We will ensure that stakeholders have fair and equal access to the public participation process and the opportunity to influence decisions.
Respect for Communities. We will avoid strategies that risk polarizing community interest or that appear to “divide and conquer”
Advocacy. We will advocate for the public participation process and will not advocate for a particular interest, party or project outcome.
Commitments. We ensure that all commitments made to the public, including those made by the decision maker, are made in good faith.
Support of the Practice. We will mentor new practitioners in the field and educate the decision makers and the public about the value and use of public participation.