Evaluating citizen participation

February 7, 2012

One of the major difficulties accepted in the discussions around citizen participation was how do we measure it. This was presented more recently in the post ‘Participating in a Democracy’. Whilst being fully referenced and including her a new paper from the IBM Center for The Business of Government probably owes a great deal to the late Sherry Arnstein’s work on the Ladder of Democracy.

The paper entitled ‘A Managers Guide to Evaluating Citizen Participation’ (56 pages, 2.6Mb) is written by Tina Nabatchi of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs focuses on revising a modified version of the Ladder of Participation that was published in 2007 as the ‘IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation’. The paper clearly identifies that there are no easy routes to evaluation and the methods outlined require time and effort tu fulfill and although there are mentions of using new media to consult there are no solutions as to measuring with them. In fact the one clear link to anything electronic from the White House website is to the proclamation that protects personal data.

However, as I’ve stated, the big thing is to get participation right, then e-participation will come naturally (with trust), so this is a good start.