Involving the general public

Involving the general public in public administration projects is happening more and more frequently. It brings many benefits.

Civic participation gives everyone who is affected and/or interested the opportunity to have their interests or concerns represented in public projects, or to voice them themselves.

Public participation means that not only citizens but also interest groups such as professional chambers and NGOs (environmental protection organisations, social organisations etc.) are involved.

The term "general public"

The term "general public" refers to an open, unlimited group of people, all the members and types of organisation in a society apart from state organisations. The general public includes both individuals and groups of people which may form in connection with a particular event and/or for short periods.

The benefits of public participation

High-quality public participation requires commitment, time, resources and energy. 

Work efficiently on the basis of co-operation, not conflict 

  • Work with those affected to find compromises and acceptable, feasible solutions – balance the different interests 
  • Avoid objections, complaints, political intervention, protest campaigns, court cases etc.
  • Improve relationships with the general public, build trust and enhance the image of public administration agencies

Establish and strengthen the basis for decision-making 

  • Collate the arguments for and against, evaluate them and find the best solution 
  • Get a broader perspective and make discussions more objective 
  • Identify any potential stumbling blocks early on and remove them

Find solutions that suit citizens

  • Incorporate the ideas and practical knowledge of the general public 
  • Find out people's opinions and feelings and take them into consideration
  • Identify and take account of the needs and concerns of those affected 

A new form of participation: social media

Web 2.0 offers public administration agencies a new way of involving and including people.

The aim is to have better, faster and more interactive communication with the people. Whether to use Facebook, the X platform, YouTube, Instagram, digital participation platforms or something else – this is the challenge for administrative agencies.

What is important is to know the target group and know the social media networks on which they are active.

Consultations in Europe and internationally

European Commission – "Have your say"

With this service, the European Commission offers people access to all kinds of consultations and discussions. This enables them to participate actively in EU policy-making.

Further information on an international level

Responsibility within the Austrian Federal Government

Responsibility for public participation rests with the Ministry of the Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport (BMKOES).

More information can be found here:
Public Management und Governance_Partizipation.

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