Loading...

Contextual Factors that Affect Outcomes of Citizen Engagement

Friday, July 3, 2015

by Nick Charney RSS / cpsrenewalFacebook / cpsrenewalLinkedIn / Nick Charneytwitter / nickcharneygovloop / nickcharneyGoogle+ / nickcharney

Earlier this week I was doing some research on citizen engagement (See: The Problem with Engagement) and came across a  massive 189-page PDF entitled Strategic framework for mainstreaming citizen engagement in World Bank Group operations: engaging with citizens for improved results. If you can spare the time I highly recommend reading what you can of it, it covers off important citizen engagement factors such as country context, government ownership, and the importance of clarity of objectives.

If you can't dedicate the time to read the whole document you ought to at least look over the three tables below that I pulled directly there from. They cover off (1) the contextual factors that affect outcomes of citizen engagement; (2) additional contextual factors that affect outcomes of citizen engagement in various areas (e.g. service delivery); and (3) overview of citizen engagement approaches and mechanisms.

I've also got the tables saved in a separate word document that you can grab if you are so interested.

Cheers


Contextual Factors that Affect Outcomes of Citizen Engagement Initiatives
Demand-side factors
Willingness
  • The degree to which the development issue addressed by citizen engagement initiatives is of interest to all citizens or an identifiable target group of citizens.
  • Willingness to engage with the state based on factors such as intrinsic motivation, perception of government willingness to engage, belief in the efficacy of participation, or cost(s) of inaction.
  • Nature of past state-citizen engagement and outcomes achieved.
  • History and risk of elite capture.
Capacity
  • Access to timely, credible, comprehensive, relevant, and easy-to-understand information.
  • Sufficient awareness and understanding of the issue to engage with the government effectively.
  • Capabilities (economic, human, social, political, technical) to engage in the “upstream” (policy formulation) as well as “downstream” (implementation) stages of the engagement process.
  • Strong, broad-based, and recognized leadership to engage on the development issue.
  • Authority, credibility, and legitimacy of CSOs.
  • Capacity to network within and across state-society.
  • Capacity of individuals and groups/organizations for collective action, including excluded and marginalized sections of society.
Supply-side factors
Willingness
  • Willingness of state functionaries (elected officials/bureaucratic staff/service providers) to (a) engage with citizens, and (b) respond to citizens’ feedback (as determined by interests, ideology, incentives, and reward(s)/cost(s) of action/inaction).
  • Strength of individual champions within the state.
  • Level of political competition and whether it creates incentives for reforms and accountability.
  • Perception of the capability of mobilizing citizens and other stakeholders.
  • Degree of sanctions triggered by engagement mechanisms (if any).
  • Effective horizontal accountability institutions (e.g., judiciary, legislative, and other oversight authorities) or well-known legal accountability mechanisms that promote the responsiveness of public officials to citizens’ concerns and priorities.
  • Politics of patronage.
Capacity
  • Generation of and access to timely, credible, comprehensive, and useful information on issues that are important to citizens.
  • Mandate, knowledge, plan/strategy to address the issues.
  • Capacity to gather, aggregate, and respond to citizen feedback (e.g., organizational, technical, and political competencies).
Sociopolitical, economic, legal, and other factors
Context and processes
  • History of civic participation, including existence and history of well-known, open, accessible, credible, and institutionalized citizen-state interface platform(s).
  • Existence of interlocutors/mobilizers with strong leadership, adequate capacity, and credibility (with citizens and state actors) to mobilize both citizens and state officials and facilitate citizen-state interaction.
  • Degree of decentralization.

Additional Contextual Factors Affecting Citizen Engagement Outcomes in Various Areas
Outcome area
Factors
Public service delivery
  • Service characteristics, such as availability of information on and complexity of the service provided.
  • Influence of citizen feedback on the outcomes of service provision vis-à-vis such factors as capacity of service providers.
  • Accessibility/quality of services affiliated with ideologies and values (e.g., water, sanitation). Concerns about service provision in such areas can emerge into socially and politically salient issues.
  • Institutional capacity, mandate, and incentives to respond to citizen feedback.
  • Existence/effectiveness of oversight mechanisms to ensure responsiveness to citizen feedback.
  • Cultural and social factors that affect decision-making processes (e.g., gender, wealth, ethnicity, and education).
  • Risks of providing feedback or engaging with service providers (e.g., retribution by the service personnel on whom citizens depend)
  • Limited or no choice of service providers (e.g., in geographically remote areas).
Public financial management
  • Existence of legal frameworks that require or facilitate opportunities for CE in budget processes.
  • Stage of budget process and timing of citizen input: early CE during budget preparation (vs. execution) increases opportunities for impact.
  • Government structure: governments with existing participatory processes are more likely to be open to a broader range of CE approaches.
  • Perceived legitimacy of citizen input: citizen input that is collective/representative may lead to greater government responsiveness in budget processes than individual input.
Governance
  • Organizational culture of public institutions. (e.g., clarity and effectiveness of policies, procedures, and monitoring and control systems).
  • Form of corruption: extortive corruption practices are more likely than collusive corruption practices to motivate citizen action.
  • Cultural values such as gift-giving or nepotism.
  • Mandate and strength of oversight institutions, including legislature, judiciary, supreme audit institutions, and anticorruption agencies.
  • Independence and proactivity of media.
  • Degree of decentralization, effectiveness of local institutions, and extent of central government oversight.
Natural resource management
  • Resource value: high resource value/economic dependence provides fewer incentives for devolution of authority to local communities.
  • Costs/benefits for relevant stakeholders; e.g., agreement on revenue sharing could help to motivate community engagement.
  • Community characteristics, such as high inequality, likelihood of elite capture, limited information flows, or low capacity.
  • Legal framework and reporting requirements on access to and ownership, allocation, and control of natural resources.
  • Central government support for local management of natural resources, and capacity to negotiate favorable concessions and legal agreements.
  • Existence/efficacy of the private sector’s attempts to understand and address the needs of local communities.
Social inclusion and empowerment
  • Community characteristics such as transparency of decision-making rules, identification of the poor, and degree of equality.
  • Community capacity to implement projects and utilize CE mechanisms effectively.
  • Existence of measures to prevent elite capture (such as contested election of local leaders).
  • Social norms and incentives for the inclusion of women and other vulnerable and marginalized groups.
  • Commitment of state actors to decentralization and empowerment of local governments and communities.

Overview of Citizen Engagement Approaches and Mechanisms
CE activity
Mechanisms
Government
participation required
Citizen participation required
Technical complexity and skills required
Time
Cost
Consultation
Public hearings
Medium
Low
Medium
Low
Low
Focus group discussions
Weak
Low
Medium
Medium
Medium
Advisory body/committee
Medium
Low
Medium
Medium
Low
Grievance Redress
Formal GRMs
Weak
Low
Medium
Low
Low
Citizens’ jury
Medium
Medium
Medium
Low
Low
Collecting, recording, and reporting on inputs from citizens
Public hearings
Medium
Low
Medium
Low
Low
Focus group discussions
Weak
Low
Medium
Medium
Medium
Citizen satisfaction surveys
Medium
High
High
High
High
Community scorecard
Medium
Medium
High
High
High
Citizen report card
Strong
High
Medium
High
High
Collaboration in decision-making

Citizen/user membership in decision-making bodies
Medium
Medium
Medium
Medium
Low
Integrity pacts
Strong
Low
Low
Low
Low
Participatory planning
Medium
Medium
High
High
High
Participatory budgeting
Strong
Medium
High
High
High
Citizens’ jury
Medium
Medium
Medium
Low
Low
Citizen-led monitoring and evaluation or oversight
Procurement monitoring
Strong
High
High
Medium
Medium
Public expenditure tracking
Strong
High
Medium
High
High
Community scorecard
Medium
Medium
High
High
High
Social audit
Medium
High
High
High
High
Citizen report card
Strong
High
Medium
High
High
Citizen satisfaction surveys
Medium
High
High
High
High
Empowering citizens with resources and authority over their use
Participatory planning
Medium
Medium
High
High
High
Community management
Strong
High
High
High
Medium
Community contracting
Strong
High
High
High
Medium
Participatory monitoring
Medium
High
High
Medium
Medium
Building citizen capacity for engagement
Budget literacy campaigns
Weak
Medium
Low
Medium
Medium
Public reporting of revenues and expenditures
Medium
Low
Low
Low
Low
Information dissemination/
demystification
Information campaigns
Weak
Low
Low
Medium
Medium
Citizens’ charters
Strong
Low
Low
Low
Low
Citizen service centers
Strong
Low
Low
Medium
Medium
Budget transparency
Strong
Medium
Low
Medium
Medium
Public reporting of revenues
and expenditures
Medium
Low
Low
Low
Low
Budget literacy campaigns
Weak
Medium
Low
Medium
Medium
Independent budget analysis
Weak
High
Low
High
Medium
Citizens’ budget
Strong
Medium
Low
Medium
Medium