Electronic Participation (ePart) Conference

Inform-Consult-Empower:  A Three-tiered Approach to eParticipation

While most existing eParticipation projects have embraced the need for citizen engagement to achieve effective democracy, as of yet only limited success has been achieved. This lack of success stems from many challenges and barriers: in some cases, it is a lack of interest in policy issues and low levels of trust in politicians; in others, it is a lack of vision or awareness about the benefits of citizens participation inside the policy-modelling process. This paper describes a three-tiered approach to eParticipation based on a multi-stream policy-making model with three levels of participation: Inform, Consult, Empower. This approach focuses on the level of participation by the user: what are the goals of participation at each of these levels and how do each of these levels of participation relate to current policy-modelling practices. The Puzzled by Policy project will adopt and implement the Inform-Consult-Empower approach, which shows how the social complexity barriers, political culture barriers, technological barriers and organizational structure barriers can be reduced in order to provide effective participation. A use case of how this model will be used to engage Spanish citizens with immigration policy is presented.