Democratising Engagement: What the UK can Learn from International Experience

Cornwall, A.
Publisher Demos
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Governments around the world are starting to realise that engaging their citizens more in shaping the decisions that affect their everyday lives improves both legitimacy and the quality of public services. In the UK, addressing the democratic deficit is high on the political agenda. But the current model of consultation does not bring in the diversity of voices and perspectives that would make citizen engagement genuinely democratic.

This pamphlet draws on the Institute for Development Studies research project Spaces for Change, examining international attempts to democratise citizen engagement. The case studies show that genuine, inclusive engagement requires investment to create an enabling environment and to support society’s least vocal and least powerful people to find and use their voices. As other countries lead the effort to involve the public in meaningful conversations about policy, the pamphlet argues that the UK has much to learn from their experience.

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Related IDS Researchers
Andrea Cornwall

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