At the dlr Age Well Expo on Sunday the 9th of June, Laura Howe, DLR PPN manager gave a presentation about Public Participation and its benefits. This article is based on the presentation.
Public Participation is when people volunteer their time in order to shape policy, regulations or decisions about budgets and services. Public participation involves being informed about a topic or issue, considering all sides to the issue, giving the issue careful consideration and drawing up recommendations for how government, local government or civic institutions should move forward or take action.
Citizen’s Assemblies, like the one we have here in Ireland are one example of Public Participation. Another example is Participatory Budgeting, in which people in a community or area make decisions about how public money is spent in their area. Participatory Budgeting originated in Brazil but is now used worldwide, including America, Europe and the UK. South Dublin County Council have a participatory budgeting project called 300K Have Your Say.
Why is Public Participation important for people? Feeling that you are able to influence and participate in decisions that affect you and your community is important for wellbeing. A UK government report found that when communities are involved in public participation activities it can lead to a more closely knit and well connected community. Also when people are involved in public participation it encourages them to take ownership of their local area and look to find solutions to problems. By engaging with policy and decision making people become more knowledgeable about local issues and more confident to tackle those issues.
Why is Public Participation important for government? It improves trust – research shows that involvement in policy and decision making processes can lead to a belief in people that civic institutions are working for their benefit. It gives people a greater understanding of the challenges faced by government and more appreciation of the role of government and politicians. By involving people in decision making and the design of services governments can tap into a greater range of expertise which can help them to find better solutions.
The role of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Public Participation Network is to facilitate and support Public Participation in the county. Currently this happens through local authority policy and decision making structures such as the Strategic Policy Committees and the Joint Policing Committee. Over the next few weeks and months DLR PPN will be electing new representatives to represent the views of our members on local authority policy-making committees. If you are interested in running for election as a DLR PPN representative please get in touch with Laura Howe at laura @dlrppn.ie or 087 6394506.
Click here to see source information, taken from gov.uk.