Citizen Participation Overview It is not enough to work only on setting up democratic institutions and processes. These institutions and processes must be put to work creating opportunities for citizens to lead healthy and productive lives. Ensuring that government actually works for the public good requires informed, organized, active and peaceful citizen participation. Citizens must, therefore, understand ideas about citizenship, politics and government.
The Theory of Citizen Participation Introduction Citizen participation is a process which provides private individuals an opportunity to influence public decisions and has long been a component of the democratic decision-making process.
The roots of citizen participation can be traced to ancient Greece and Colonial New The need for citizen participation in. Before the s, governmental processes and procedures were designed to facilitate "external" participation.
Public involvement is means to ensure that citizens have a direct voice in public decisions. The terms "citizen" and "public," and "involvement" and "participation" are often used interchangeably.
While both are generally used to indicate a process through which citizens have a voice in public policy decisions, both have distinctively different meanings and convey little insight into the process they seek to describe. Many agencies or individuals choose to exclude or minimize public participation in planning efforts claiming citizen participation is too expensive and time consuming.
Yet, many citizen participation programs are initiated in response to public reaction to a proposed project or action. However, there are tangible benefits that can be derived from an effective citizen involvement program. Cogan and Sharpep. Information and ideas on public issues; Public Support for planning decisions; Avoidance of protracted conflicts and costly delays; Reservoir of good will which can carry over to future decisions; and Spirit of cooperation and trust between the agency and the public.
All of these benefits are important to the Forest Service in its planning efforts, particularly the last three. Recent forest management decisions have led to prolonged court cases and a general lack of trust among many people with respect to the Forest Service.
Decision-making Structures In discussing the theory of public participation, it is useful to review broad theories of decision-making structures. They conclude that public decisions are increasingly being influenced by technology.
Two broad decision-making structures are defined and analyzed: Technocracy or the technocratic approach is defined as the application of technical knowledge, expertise, techniques, and methods to problem solving.
Democracy, as defined by DeSario and Langton, refers to citizen involvement activities in relation to government planning and policy making DeSario and Langton, p.
These approaches are described in more detail below. Technocratic Decision Making The technocratic approach to decision-making has historically been applied in most Forest Service decisions.
Strong arguments can be made in favor of a technocratic decision approach. A key argument is that trained staff "experts" are best suited to make complex technical decisions. Experts are increasingly becoming a part of our decision-making structures in both the public and private sectors DeSario and Langton, However, Nelkin concluded that scientific and technocratic approaches "not only failed to solve social problems but often contributed to them" Nelkin, The notion that the "cure is often worse than the disease" becomes increasingly important as the technology provides alternative solutions to public policy issues.
Techniques and methods applied by experts are most effective when considering technical decisions as opposed to value or mixed, decisions. Kantrowitz identified three separate types of policy decisions: Technical decisions rely on scientific techniques and extrapolations to determine the potential of "what is".
Value issues involve normative determinations of "what should be". Although scientific information can provide guidance with respect to value decisions, it is rarely the sole determinant DeSario and Langton, Natural resource management decisions frequently affect social values.
The technocratic approach to decision making is difficult to apply successfully to social problems because social goals are often complex, conflicting and unclear DeSario and Langton, p.
A growing number of Americans are becoming more skeptical of technology and its experts. One result of this skepticism is a heightened demand for greater citizen participation with respect to technological decisions DeSario and Langton, p.
As a result, technological progress will face increased public scrutiny as the deficiencies of technology and experts become more apparent. The integration of the technocratic and democratic approaches, particularly in natural resource management, has led to an increasing sense of frustration and futility for both the public and the government agencies involved Kaplan and Kaplan, Democratic Decision Making Democratic decision-making, in contrast to bureaucratic or technocratic decision making, is based on the assumption that all who are affected by a given decision have the right to participate in the making of that decision.
Participation can be direct in the classical democratic sense, or can be through representatives for their point of view in a pluralist-republican model Kweit and Kweit, p. Public Participation In Rational Policy Making Many "rational" policy decisions are made using the policy analysis process.
According to Lang, a decision is rational to the extent that it is shown empirically to match the best available means of achieving a given end Lang, Traditional rational planning and policy analysis processes typically have five or six steps.
Patton and Sawicki outline six steps in the policy analysis process:Citizen Participation Specialists are experts in listening to citizen's concerns, facilitating public involvement, and knowing when public comments need to be submitted.
We are here to help. View proposed regulations that are open for comment. From We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution, second edition () Middle School Grades Student Book Purpose of Lesson In this lesson you will learn about one of the most important rights of citizenship.
This is the right to participate in governing our nation. The government can support citizen participation in various ways, for instance by abolishing unnecessary rules and regulations wherever possible. Like the complex application procedures volunteers sometimes have to contend with to obtain funding for their activities.
Informal citizen participation methods exist, such as protests, petitions, boycotts and digital campaigns, but they’re often ineffective or very energy consuming.
We need citizen participation to be built as a pillar of our democratic systems. Director of Citizen Participation, Inclusion and Security Get Involved NDI's work upholds the idea that democracy is a human right – a principle enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. So what is citizen participation?
Citizen participation is essentially nation-building through the thoughts, words and actions of a critical mass of Nigerians. This is a process where citizens take responsibility for the current state and future outcome of the nation and then with courage, step out to participate in activities that will lead to.