Political Struggles and the Forging of Autonomous Government Agencies (Public Sector Organizations)


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Table of contents

Special protection, care and assistance when they suffer from chronic or degenerative diseases. The State shall guarantee disability prevention policies and, along with society and the family, it shall ensure equal opportunities for persons with disabilities and their social integration.

Persons with disabilities are recognized the following rights: 1. Specialized attention in public and private entities that provide healthcare services for their specific needs, which shall include the free provision of medicines, especially for those persons that require lifetime treatment.

Integral rehabilitation and permanent assistance, which shall include the corresponding technical aids.

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Discounts for public services and for private transportation services and entertainment. Work in conditions of equal opportunity that foster their capabilities and potential by means of policies that permit their incorporation into public and private entities. Adequate housing, with facilities for access and the conditions needed to address their disability and to achieve the highest possible degree of autonomy in their daily life. Persons with disabilities who cannot be cared for by their relatives during the day or who have no permanent place to live shall have welcoming centers for their shelter.

An education that develops their potential and skills for their integration and participation in equal conditions. Their education in the regular education system shall be guaranteed. Regular establishments shall incorporate a differentiated treatment and those establishments for special care shall incorporate specialized education.

Schools shall comply with standards of accessibility for persons with disabilities and shall implement a scholarship system that in line with the economic conditions of this group. Specialized education for persons with intellectual disabilities and promoting their capabilities by the establishment of specific education centers and teaching programs. Free psychological care for persons with disabilities and their families, in particular in the case of intellectual disabilities.

Adequate access to all goods and services. Architectural barriers shall be eliminated. Access to alternative communication mechanisms, media and forms, among which sign language for deaf persons, oralism and the Braille system. The State shall adopt for the benefit of persons with disabilities measures that ensure: 1.

Social inclusion, by means of coordinated state and private plans and programs that promote their political, social, educational, and economic participation. Obtaining tax credits and discounts or exemptions that enable them to start up and keep productive activities and obtaining study scholarships at all levels of education. The development of programs and policies aimed at promoting their leisure and rest. Political participation, which shall ensure that they are duly represented, in accordance with the law.

The establishment of specialized programs for the integral care of persons with severe and deep disabilities, in order to achieve the maximum development of their personality, the promotion of their autonomy and the reduction of their dependence. Incentive and support for production projects for the benefit of the relatives of persons with severe disabilities.

Guaranteeing the full exercise of the rights of persons with disabilities. Abandonment of these persons is punishable by law and any action leading to any kind of abuse, inhuman and degrading treatment and discrimination because of their disability shall be punishable by law.

The persons and families who provide care to persons with disabilities and who require permanent attention shall be covered by the Social Security and shall receive periodic training to improve the quality of care. The State shall guarantee for all persons suffering from disastrous or highly complex diseases the right to specialized, timely, and preferential care free of charge at all levels. Imprisoned persons are recognized the following rights: 1.

To not be subject to solitary confinement as a disciplinary measure. Communication and visit with their relatives and legal professionals. Declaring before a judiciary authority on the treatment received during imprisonment. The human and material resources needed to guarantee their integral health in penitentiaries. Care for their education, labor, productive, cultural, food and recreational needs.

Receiving preferential and specialized treatment in the case of pregnant women and breast-feeding women, adolescents, elderly persons, the sick or persons with disabilities. Benefiting from measures of protection for children, adolescents, persons with disabilities and elderly persons who are under their care and who depend on them. Persons have the right to have goods and services of the highest quality and to choose them freely, as well as to accurate information that is not misleading with respect to their contents and characteristics.

The law provides for quality control mechanisms and consumer defense procedures, as well as penalties for the infringement of these rights, reparation and compensation for defects, damages or poor quality of goods and services and for the interruption of public services not caused by acts of God or force majeure situations. Companies, institutions and organizations that provide public services must incorporate systems to measure user and consumer satisfaction and put into practice assistance and reparation systems. The State shall be held liable for civil damages caused to persons for negligence and carelessness in the provision of public services under its charge and for the deficiency of services that have been paid.

Persons or entities that provide public services or produce or market consumer goods shall be held liable both civilly and criminally for the inadequate provision of the services, for poor quality of the product or when its conditions are not consistent with the advertising that was made or with the description provided. Persons shall be held liable for any malpractice in the exercise of their profession, craft or trade, especially practices that endanger the integrity or life of persons.

Users and consumers will be able to set up associations that promote information and education about their rights and that represent and defend them before judiciary or administrative authorities. For the exercise of this and other rights, nobody shall be obliged to associate. Indigenous communities, peoples and nations, the Afro-Ecuadorian people, the back-country people montubios of the inland coastal region, and communes are part of the single and indivisible Ecuadorian State.

Indigenous communes, communities, peoples and nations are recognized and guaranteed, in conformity with the Constitution and human rights agreements, conventions, declarations and other international instruments, the following collective rights: 1. To freely uphold, develop and strengthen their identity, feeling of belonging, ancestral traditions and forms of social organization.

To not be the target of racism or any form of discrimination based on their origin or ethnic or cultural identity. To recognition, reparation and compensation for community groups affected by racism, xenophobia and other related forms of intolerance and discrimination. To keep ownership, without subject to a statute of limitations, of their community lands, which shall be unalienable, immune from seizure and indivisible. These lands shall be exempt from paying fees or taxes.


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To keep ownership of ancestral lands and territories and to obtain free awarding of these lands. To participate in the use, usufruct, administration and conservation of natural renewable resources located on their lands. To free prior informed consultation, within a reasonable period of time, on the plans and programs for prospecting, producing and marketing nonrenewable resources located on their lands and which could have an environmental or cultural impact on them; to participate in the profits earned from these projects and to receive compensation for social, cultural and environmental damages caused to them.

The consultation that must be conducted by the competent authorities shall be mandatory and in due time. If consent of the consulted community is not obtained, steps provided for by the Constitution and the law shall be taken. To keep and promote their practices of managing biodiversity and their natural environment. The State shall establish and implement programs with the participation of the community to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

To keep and develop their own forms of peaceful coexistence and social organization and creating and exercising authority, in their legally recognized territories and ancestrally owned community lands. To create, develop, apply and practice their own legal system or common law, which cannot infringe constitutional rights, especially those of women, children and adolescents. To not be displaced from their ancestral lands.

To uphold, protect and develop collective knowledge; their science, technologies and ancestral wisdom; the genetic resources that contain biological diversity and agricultural biodiversity; their medicine and traditional medical practices, with the inclusion of the right to restore, promote, and protect ritual and holy places, as well as plants, animals, minerals and ecosystems in their territories; and knowledge about the resources and properties of fauna and flora.

All forms of appropriation of their knowledge, innovations, and practices are forbidden. The State shall provide resources for this purpose. To develop, strengthen, and upgrade the intercultural bilingual education system, on the basis of criteria of quality, from early stimulation to higher levels of education, in conformity with cultural diversity, for the care and preservation of identities, in keeping with their own teaching and learning methodologies.

A teaching career marked by dignity shall also be guaranteed. Administration of this system shall be collective and participatory, with rotation in time and space, based on community monitoring and accountability. To build and uphold organizations that represent them, in a context of pluralism and cultural, political, and organizational diversity.

The State shall recognize and promote all forms of expression and organization. To participate by means of their representatives in the official organizations established by law to draw up public policies concerning them, as well as design and decide their priorities in the plans and projects of the State. To be consulted before the adoption of a legislative measure that might affect any of their collective rights. To uphold and develop contacts, ties and cooperation with other peoples, especially those that are divided by international borders.

To promote the use of garments, symbols and emblems that identify them. To restrict military activities in their territories, in accordance with the law. That the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories, and ambitions be reflected in public education and in the media; the creation of their own media in their languages and access to the others without any discrimination. The territories of the peoples living in voluntary isolation are an irreducible and intangible ancestral possession and all forms of extractive activities shall be forbidden there.

The State shall adopt measures to guarantee their lives, enforce respect for self-determination and the will to remain in isolation and to ensure observance of their rights. The violation of these rights shall constitute a crime of ethnocide, which shall be classified as such by law. The State shall guarantee the enforcement of these collective rights without any discrimination, in conditions of equality and equity between men and women. To build up their identity, culture, traditions and rights, the collective rights of the Afro-Ecuadorian people are recognized, as set forth in the Constitution, the law, and human rights agreements, conventions, declarations and other international instruments.

The collective rights of the coastal back-country people montubios are recognized to guarantee their process of integral, sustainable and durable human development, the policies and strategies for their progress and their forms of societal management, on the basis of knowledge about their reality and respect for their culture, identity, and own vision, in accordance with the law.

Ancestral, indigenous, Afro-Ecuadorian and coastal back-country montubios peoples can establish territorial districts for the preservation of their culture. The law shall regulate their establishment. Communities comunas that have collective land ownership are recognized as an ancestral form of territorial organization. Ecuadorians benefit from the following rights: 1. To elect and be elected.

To participate in affairs of public interest. To submit projects of grass-roots regulatory initiatives. To be consulted. To audit activities conducted by the government. To recall authorities elected by universal suffrage. To hold and discharge public office and duties on the basis of merits and capacities and in a transparent, inclusive, equitable, pluralistic and democratic selection and designation system that guarantees their participation, on the basis of criteria of gender equity and parity, equal opportunities for persons with disabilities, and intergenerational participation.

To set up political parties and movements, join or withdraw from them and participate in all the decisions adopted by them. Foreign persons shall enjoy these rights to the extent that they are applicable. The persons in possession of political rights have the right to equal, direct, secret and publicly scrutinized universal suffrage, in conformity with the following provisions: 1.

Voting shall be mandatory for persons over eighteen years of age. Detained persons who have not been convicted and sentenced shall exercise their right to vote. Voting shall be optional for persons between sixteen and eighteen years of age, elderly persons over sixty-five years of age, Ecuadorians who live abroad, members of the Armed Forces and National Police Force, and persons with disabilities. Ecuadorians abroad have the right to elect the President and Vice-President of the Republic, members of parliament representing the country and Ecuadorian nationals abroad, and can be elected to any office.

Foreign persons residing in Ecuador have the right to vote as long as they have resided legally in the country for at least five years. The exercise of political rights shall be suspended, in addition to those cases provided for by law, for the following reasons: 1. Prohibition by the judiciary system, as long it is in force, except in the case of insolvency or bankruptcy that has not been declared fraudulent.

Final court judgment convicting a person and sentencing that person to incarceration, as long as it is in force. The State shall promote equality with respect to the representation of women and men in publicly appointed or elected office, in its executive and decision-making institutions, and political parties and movements. As for candidacies in multi-person elections, their participation shall be respected by rotation of power and sequencing.

The State shall adopt affirmative action measures to guarantee the participation of discriminated sectors. The following rights of persons are recognized and guaranteed: 1. The right to the inviolability of life. There shall be no capital punishment. The right to a decent life that ensures health, food and nutrition, clean water, housing, environmental sanitation, education, work, employment, rest and leisure, sports, clothing, social security and other necessary social services.

The right to personal well-being, which includes: a Bodily, psychological, moral and sexual safety. The State shall adopt the measures needed to prevent, eliminate, and punish all forms of violence, especially violence against women, children and adolescents, elderly persons, persons with disabilities and against all persons at a disadvantage or in a vulnerable situation; identical measures shall be taken against violence, slavery, and sexual exploitation.

The right to formal equality, material equality and nondiscrimination. The right of all persons wronged by information broadcast by the media, without evidence or based on inaccurate facts, to immediate, mandatory and free corresponding correction, reply or response, in the same broadcasting slot or time. The State shall protect voluntary religious practice, as well the expression of those who profess no religion whatsoever, and shall favor an environment of plurality and tolerance. The State shall promote access to the necessary means so that these decisions take place in safe conditions.

No one can be obliged to make statements about these convictions. The right to conscientious objection, which shall not undermine other rights or cause harm to persons or nature. All persons have the right to refuse the use of violence and to refuse doing military service. The right to associate, assemble and express oneself freely and voluntarily. Prohibition from leaving the country can only be ordered by a judge authorized to do so. Foreigners cannot be returned or expelled to a country where their lives, liberty, safety or well-being or those of their families are in danger because of their ethnic belonging, religion, nationality, ideology, belonging to a given social group or political opinions.

The expulsion of groups of foreigners is forbidden. Migratory processes must be singled out. The right to develop economic activities individually or collectively, in line with the principles of solidarity, social and environmental responsibility. The right to freedom to enter into contracts. The right to freedom of work. No one shall be obligated to carry out free or forced labor, unless provided for by law. The right to honor and a good reputation. The law shall protect the image and voice of every person. The right to protection of personal information, including access to and decision about information and data of this nature, as well as its corresponding protection.

The gathering, filing, processing, distribution or dissemination of these data or information shall require authorization from the holder or a court order. The right to personal and family intimacy. The right to inviolability and secrecy of hard-copy and on-line correspondence, which cannot be retained, opened or examined, except in those cases provided by law, after court order and under the obligation to uphold the confidentiality of matters other than those motivating their examination.

This right protects any type or form of communication. It shall not be possible to enter the house of a person or conduct inspections or searches without their authorization or a court warrant, except in matters of felonies, in those cases and forms provided for by law. The right to file individual and collective complaints with authorities and to receive substantiated responses and replies. No petitions can be addressed on behalf of the people.

The right to participate in the cultural life of the community. The right to have access to quality, efficient, and effective public goods and services provided courteously, as well as to receive adequate and truthful information about their contents and characteristics. The right to property in all of its forms, with social and environmental function and responsibility. The right to have access to property shall be enforced by the adoption of public policies, among other measures. The right to live in a healthy environment that is ecologically balanced, pollution-free and in harmony with nature.

The right to personal and collective identity, which includes having a first name and last name, which is duly registered and freely chosen, and to preserve, develop and build up the tangible and intangible characteristics of said identity, such as nationality, family origins, and spiritual, cultural, religious, linguistic, political and social manifestations.

The rights of freedom also include: a Recognition that all persons are born free. The State shall adopt measures to prevent and eliminate trafficking in persons and to protect and socially reinsert victims of trafficking and other forms of the infringement of freedom. Family in its various forms is recognized. The State shall protect it as the fundamental core of society and shall guarantee conditions that integrally favor the achievement of its goals. They shall be comprised of legal or common-law ties and shall be based on the equality of rights and the opportunities of their members.

Marriage is the union of man and woman and shall be based on the free consent of the persons entering into this bond and on the equality of rights, obligations and legal capacity. The stable and monogamous union between two persons without any other marriage ties who have a common-law home, for the lapse of time and under the conditions and circumstances provided for by law, shall enjoy the same rights and obligations of those families bound by formal marriage ties.

To protect the rights of persons who are members of a family: 1. Responsible motherhood and fatherhood shall be fostered; and the mother and father shall be obliged to take care, raise, educate, feed, and provide for the integral development and protection of the rights of their children, especially when they are separated from them for any reason. Unseizable family assets are recognized in terms of amount and on the basis of the conditions and limitations provided for by law.

The right to give in legacy and inherit is recognized. The State shall guarantee the equality of rights in decision making for the administration of the marital partnership and the joint ownership of assets. The State shall protect mothers, fathers and those who are the heads of family, in the exercise of their obligations and shall pay special attention to families who have broken up for whatever reason. The State shall promote the joint responsibility of both mother and father and shall monitor fulfillment of the mutual duties and rights between mothers, fathers, and children.

Daughters and sons shall have the same rights, without any consideration given to kinship or adoption background. No declaration of the quality of the kinship shall be required at the time of registering the birth and no identity document shall refer to the type of kinship. The State shall draw up and implement policies to achieve equality between women and men, through the specialized mechanism set up by law, and shall mainstream the gender approach in plans and programs and shall provide technical assistance for its mandatory enforcement in the public sector.

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Nature, or Pacha Mama, where life is reproduced and occurs, has the right to integral respect for its existence and for the maintenance and regeneration of its life cycles, structure, functions and evolutionary processes. All persons, communities, peoples and nations can call upon public authorities to enforce the rights of nature. To enforce and interpret these rights, the principles set forth in the Constitution shall be observed, as appropriate. The State shall give incentives to natural persons and legal entities and to communities to protect nature and to promote respect for all the elements comprising an ecosystem.

Nature has the right to be restored. This restoration shall be apart from the obligation of the State and natural persons or legal entities to compensate individuals and communities that depend on affected natural systems. In those cases of severe or permanent environmental impact, including those caused by the exploitation of nonrenewable natural resources, the State shall establish the most effective mechanisms to achieve the restoration and shall adopt adequate measures to eliminate or mitigate harmful environmental consequences.

The State shall apply preventive and restrictive measures on activities that might lead to the extinction of species, the destruction of ecosystems and the permanent alteration of natural cycles. Persons, communities, peoples, and nations shall have the right to benefit from the environment and the natural wealth enabling them to enjoy the good way of living. Environmental services shall not be subject to appropriation; their production, delivery, use and development shall be regulated by the State.

Every person has the right to free access to justice and the effective, impartial and expeditious protection of their rights and interests, subject to the principles of immediate and swift enforcement; in no case shall there be lack of proper defense.

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Failure to abide by legal rulings shall be punishable by law. In all processes where rights and obligations of any kind are set forth, the right to due process of law shall be ensured, including the following basic guarantees: 1. All administrative or judiciary authorities are responsible for guaranteeing enforcement of the standards and rights of the parties.

All persons shall be presumed innocent, and shall be dealt with as such, until their guilt is stated by means of a final ruling or judgment of conviction 3. No one shall be judged or punished for a deed or omission which, at the time of its perpetration, is not legally classified by law as a criminal, administrative or other offense; nor shall a punishment not provided for by the Constitution or law be applied.

A person can only be judged by a competent judge or authority and in keeping with the procedures corresponding to each proceeding. Evidence obtained or presented in violation of the Constitution or the law shall not have any validity and shall fail to qualify as evidence. In the case of conflict between two laws on the same subject envisaging different punishments for a single action, the less severe of the two punishments shall be imposed, even when its enactment is subsequent to the offense.

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In the event of any doubt on a regulation providing for punishments, the regulation shall abide by the most favorable interpretation of its effective force for the benefit of the offender. The law shall establish due proportionality between lawbreaking and criminal, administrative or other punishments. The right of persons to defense shall include the following guarantees: a No one shall be deprived of the right to defense at any stage or level of the proceedings.

The parties shall be able to gain access to all documents and steps of the proceedings. For this purpose, the cases ruled by the indigenous legal system must also be taken into account. No one shall be judged by special courts or by special commissions created for the purpose. There shall be no substantiation if, in the decision, the legal standards or principles on which it is based are not set forth and if the relevance of their application to the factual background is not explained. The administrative documents, resolutions or rulings that are not duly substantiated shall be considered null and void.

The public servants responsible shall be sanctioned. In any criminal proceedings where a person has been arrested and detained, the following basic guarantees shall be observed: 1. Detention shall be applied exceptionally when necessary to guarantee appearance in court or to ensure compliance with the sentence; it shall take place by written warrant of the competent judge in those cases according to the time-limits and formal procedures provided for by law.

Felonies shall be exceptions, in which case the person cannot be held for more than twenty-four hours without call for a trial. The judge can always order precautionary measures other than preventive arrest and detention. No person shall be admitted to a detention center without a written warrant issued by a competent judge, except in the case of felonies. Persons who are being tried or suspects in a criminal trial and who are incarcerated shall remain in legally established provisional detention centers.


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  8. All persons, at any moment of detention, shall have the right to know, clearly and in simple language, the reason for their arrest and detention, the identity of the judge or authority ordering the detention, the identity of those who enforced the order and that of the persons responsible for the respective questioning. No one can be kept incommunicado.

    The right of all persons to defense includes: a To be informed, previously and in detail, in their own language and in simple words, about the claims and proceedings being filed against them and about the identity of the authority responsible for the claim or proceedings being filed. The voluntary statements made by the victims of a crime or by the relatives of these victims, regardless of the degree of kinship, shall be admissible. These persons can file and pursue the corresponding criminal proceedings. Under the responsibility of the judge hearing the proceedings, pre-trial arrest and detention cannot extend for more than six month in those cases of crimes punishable by imprisonment or for more than one year in those crimes punishable by long-term incarceration.

    If these time-limits are surpassed, the warrant for pre-trial arrest and detention shall be null and void. Without any exception, once the stay of proceedings or a ruling of acquittal has been issued, the arrested persons shall be set free immediately, even where there is an inquiry or appeal that is pending. The judge shall apply, as a priority, alternative preventive sanctions and measures other than detention, as provided for by law. The alternative sanctions shall be applied in accordance with the circumstances, personality of the lawbreaking persons, and requirements for social reinsertion of the sentenced person.

    Persons declared guilty and sentenced to imprisonment as a result of a final judgment of conviction shall remain in social rehabilitation centers. Law-breaking adolescents shall be governed by a system of socio-educational measures proportionate to the infringement identified. The State shall determine by law custodial and non-custodial sentences.

    Incarceration shall be established as a last resort, for the minimum period needed, and it shall be enforced in establishments that are different from those for adults. When ruling on the challenge to a sanction, the situation of the person making the appeal cannot be made worse. Whoever imprisons a person by infringing these regulations shall be punished.

    The law provides for criminal and administrative sanctions for the arbitrary detention that takes place as the result of the excessive use of the police force, in their abusive application or interpretation of the penalties or other regulations or for reasons of discrimination. For disciplinary arrests of members of the Armed Forces and the National Police Force, the provisions of the law shall be applied. The victims of criminal offenses shall benefit from special protection; guarantees shall be provided to them for preventing their revictimization, especially in obtaining and assessing the evidence; and they shall be protected against any threat or other forms of intimidation.

    Mechanisms shall be adopted for integral reparation, which shall include, without delay, knowledge about the truth of the facts and restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, guarantee of nonrepetition, and satisfaction with respect to the infringed right. A system for the protection of and assistance to victims, witnesses, and participants in the proceedings shall be established. In no case shall extradition of an Ecuadorian be granted. Trial of said Ecuadorian shall be subject to the laws of Ecuador. Proceedings and punishment for the crimes of genocide, crimes to humanity, war crimes, forced disappearance of persons or crimes of aggression to a State shall not be subject to statutes of limitations.

    None of the above-mentioned cases shall be liable to benefit from amnesty. The fact that one of these crimes might have been perpetrated by a subordinate shall not exempt the superior who ordered said crime or the subordinate who carried out the order from criminal liability. The law shall establish special and expeditious procedures for bringing to trial and punishing the crimes of domestic violence, sexual offenses, crimes of hate and crimes perpetrated against children, adolescents, young people, persons with disabilities, elderly persons and persons who, because of their specific characteristics, require greater protection.

    Appendix 2: Core Values for Public Participation. Appendix 3: Key themes in public participation. Appendix 4: OECD guidelines for online citizen engagement. Such participation is effected in multiple ways and at various levels, from informal local and community settings, through incorporated entities, NGOs and peak bodies, to such key institutions as legislatures, the courts and the public service.

    Democracies are socially and culturally distinctive, developing traditions, conventions and structures that reflect the values and habits of their citizens. First, democracy should rest on a constitutional order, by which the power of any particular government of the day is limited to appropriate spheres of action. Third, the executive government should be counterbalanced by a constitutional opposition, to probe, question and help the community control the power of government.

    And fifth, the whole political structure should rest on a pluralistic, participatory society, which maintains a vigorous group life. These five features together cover the main themes of modern democratic literature. It is a complex and fluid endeavour. We shape our world through public policy. This public policy is made not only by politicians, but by thousands of public servants and the tens of thousands of women and men who petition parliaments and ministers, who join interest groups, comment through the media or represent unions, corporations and community movements.

    All have a stake in public policy. The entire community is affected by public policy. To that end, public servants are being exhorted to collaborate, not merely consult; to reach out, not merely respond. This means engaging with people who are increasingly well-educated, attuned to their rights as citizens and voters, who have ready access to information and broad exposure to the voices of opinion-leaders, experts and advocates. The purpose here is to acknowledge the growing expectations of citizens to be more effectively involved in policymaking and service design, and to explore the responsibilities and capacities of the Australian Public Service APS to initiate and facilitate such engagement.

    Governments realise that they must harness the ideas, knowledge, wisdom and skills of the non-government sector—business, academia, the professions, and voluntary organisations. Failure to engage will waste resources and curtail opportunities. It draws on the recent public policy literature, and on commentary and case studies, to describe the cultural and procedural changes that might be needed if the APS is to realise its vision of collaborative, democratically-legitimised policymaking and service design.

    The paper considers current reform initiatives in the APS and examines the implications of citizen-centric ideals for the processes and structures of government agencies, for the attributes, skill sets and dispositions of public servants, and for the culture of the APS. Examples include such diverse matters as budget formulation, land management and health care. The philosophical basis for citizen engagement and participation is famously ascribed to 5 th century BCE Athenian democrats and claimed to be a defining feature of the intellectual and political heritage of the West—although significant other sources of democratic thought and practice have been identified in the early Muslim world.

    Arendt pursued a strong version of political engagement which she considered to be a profound cultural achievement rather than something emerging naturally from human nature. This makes involving citizens in deliberation about governance and the design of policies and services no simple task. Shergold is currently championing a large scale, practical and symbolic initiative in participatory citizenship—working title Australia Forum— to foster civic engagement in democratic dialogue.

    It is these concepts and principles that resonate through the arguments for reform being urged upon the APS in the various reports and analyses discussed below. There are, of course, reasons for community engagement other than the ethical imperatives of democracy and promotion of a strong conception of citizenship. By engaging with citizens, governments can benefit from expert knowledge beyond their immediate realm of information, expertise and advice, while creating at the same time opportunities to educate people about policy alternatives. But the most important reason for genuine engagement with citizens remains that of legitimising, in the strong sense articulated by Habermas, the decisions and policies that governments finally settle upon.

    In its assessment of citizen engagement practices, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development OECD reported that, whereas considerable progress had been made in the provision of information, large differences remained between OECD countries when it comes to consultation. Since , several governments in OECD countries and elsewhere have genuinely sought to strengthen mainstream citizen participation in policy development and the design and delivery of services.

    Not surprisingly, governments in countries with strong traditions of devolved governance and a vibrant civil society have been most successful in bringing citizens into policy and service design. The report also highlights three important challenges for participation:. Broadly speaking, the question is not so much whether pressures for citizen engagement in policymaking and service design will intensify, but rather how far politicians and ministers will be willing to risk real engagement, and how successful public servants will be in enabling it to happen.

    Mirroring this question—and an issue considered briefly later— is that of the capabilities and inclinations of citizens who have been denied access to, or chosen to reject, those opportunities for engagement, however well-intentioned or thoughtfully designed those opportunities might be. The overall aim of NPM was Key components of NPM at the Commonwealth level in Australia have included making the work of public servants contestable; the introduction of performance management, including individual performance assessment and pay; the devolution of centralised managerial controls to individual agencies; the re-structuring of public sector industrial relations according to contract-based models; and the outsourcing of complex service delivery to non-government organisations.

    Most people working within, and writing about, the public service during the implementation of NPM reforms, have accepted that these disciplines have improved its flexibility and efficiency. Much of the literature surrounding NPM invoked entrepreneurialism, a focus on outputs and metrics, responsiveness to clients and the cutting of red tape. Such imperatives have become increasingly urgent as corporate and other sites of publicly unaccountable power seem to be exercising a growing, and potentially disastrous, influence over both states and citizens. One might, for example, regard the global financial crisis of —9 as only the latest in a string of major events that have galvanised public concern about who really exercises control over our individual and collective lives, about the role of citizens in influencing policies, and about what citizens and governments might do together to regain the ability to secure the policies and outcomes that they prefer.

    Reforms in the Australian Public Service — Over the past decade, many of the reforms to the public service have involved measures aimed at:. These have included:. Citizen collaboration in policy and service delivery design will enhance the processes of government and improve the outcomes sought. Collaboration with citizens is to be enabled and encouraged. The APSC has contributed significantly to the reform debate by publishing analyses, better practice guides and comprehensive State of the Service reports.

    An increasingly prominent feature of these reports and guides has been their advocacy of engagement with citizens. This will involve, where possible, actively engaging citizens and stakeholders in the policy formulation process so that their perspectives and ideas are taken into account. In many cases, it will involve weighing up benefits for one group of citizens against costs imposed on another group.

    Enable citizens to collaborate with government in policy and service design. This issue is addressed later in this paper. The Board is formally responsible for:. As agencies are exhorted to do more with less, it seems likely that the human and financial resources needed to drive change both in business models and attitudes will prove harder to find. It is certainly the case that the requirement for serious, sustained engagement between governments and citizens has been a persistent theme in the critique and commentary about public service reform throughout the decade to Especially since the publication of the APS blueprint, it has been made clear in the pronouncements and speeches of senior public service figures that the citizen is to be placed firmly at the centre of policymaking and the design and delivery of public services.

    The implications of that requirement for the culture and practices of the APS are profound. Engagement, in the governance and policy context that concerns us here, connotes a relatively sustained and systematic interaction between the parties. It involves the sharing of information, the offering of accounts, the giving and receiving of reasons, and the articulation of values.

    It comprises deliberate strategies for involving those outside government in the policy process. At its best, however, engagement results in the joint determination of outcomes and confers legitimacy upon them. Typically, analytical discussions about the practice of engagement identify its various elements as follows:. In recent decades freedom of information legislation has helped create that condition, and the emergence of the Internet has encouraged the flourishing of the information society.

    Australia participated in the development of, and is a signatory to, these protocols. Some agencies are exploiting Web 2. On legislative or policy matters affecting citizens at large, plebiscites may also be used. Sometimes, where policies have a particular impact on certain categories of citizens, governments go to considerable lengths to consult with the affected target groups and those who defend their interests. It is about preference formation rather than mere preference assertion.

    Participation is the highest order of public engagement. In public participation interactions, dialogue and, ideally, deliberation take place. Rather than simply exchanging information, members of both parties sponsors and participants allow the possibility of their opinions being changed. In deliberative settings participants can come to a shared understanding of issues and solutions and can thus make substantially better decisions.

    The International Association for Public Participation specifies seven core values for participatory engagement practices that cover both the normative and instrumental dimensions of participation and these are reproduced at Appendix 2. Of the three components of engagement outlined above—information, consultation, participation—a gradient of increasingly democratic efficacy is apparent:. The democratising potential of information alone is limited, as decision-makers are not bound by it.

    Consultation is more influential, as citizens have greater access to decision-makers and are able to feed into parts of the decision-making process, though they do not have the power to ensure that that their knowledge or opinions are taken into account. It is public participation, with its deliberative qualities, that is most likely to have positive democratic effects. Any discussion about citizen engagement must continually affirm the public as a distinct and legitimate voice calling to account other sites of power. It can counter the over weighted influence of powerful lobbies.

    Citizens and businesses are especially important external sources of ideas. Not only are they outside the public sector, but they also directly feel the impact of new policies and services. Governments cannot effectively address needs and concerns that they do not fully understand. In many respects, such a statement reflects the kind of thinking that is current in the market-place among businesses seeking to gain a competitive edge. User-led innovation is transforming the way many organisations develop new products, services and knowledge.

    Service-based organisations in particular can benefit from leveraging the participation of their audiences, customers and citizens. The best results are likely to flow from a process of strategic and frequent engagement. Such engagement goes beyond what might be thought of as more traditional forms of consultation to establishing a positive, proactive relationship Apart from enriching the development process, at the very minimum proactive engagement with clients and external stakeholders will confirm assumptions, identify unexpected issues and help build understanding and support for change.

    Perhaps the reason most commonly cited in the literature for engaging citizens is instrumental—it maximises the flow of useful knowledge to government decision-makers. The prominent British public policy adviser and consultant to the Australian Government, Geoff Mulgan, stresses this knowledge imperative, and also notes that any government that underestimates its citizens does so at its peril. A majority of economic growth derives from new knowledge and its application; so does most health gain, and most military might.

    As they use scientific knowledge and evidence of all kinds in their own lives-in everything from dietary choices to business decisions-they expect the same of their governments, are less willing to accept that governments have privileged insights, or that government is a mysterious dark art. Instead, in fields as varied as health care or climate change, they may have access to at least as much reliable information as government and are unlikely to respect governments which ignore what is known.

    Several state, territory and local jurisdictions have articulated their commitments to citizen engagement in the form of specific, public declarations to that effect. In summary, they state that engagement with citizens:. The general transparency measures announced included:.

    While statements of commitment to engage with citizens can be found throughout all levels of government in Australia, there is considerable variation in the extent to which the rhetoric matches the reality. These are problems that are highly resistant to resolution. In worst cases collaboration can end poorly — dialogue can turn into conflict, hardened positions and stalemate. Collaboration between policymakers and the public demands that both public servants and citizens possess high-level relevant skills and personal attributes.

    Sound consultative and participatory methodologies are vital. The Canadian Institute on Governance IOG is frequently cited as a source of advice on these matters, and these methodologies are summarised in Appendix 3. The challenges for public servants in enabling—and for citizens in experiencing— effective engagement are similar to those encountered in deliberative or participatory democracy settings more broadly. Advocates of deliberative democracy do not require the dismantling of the mechanisms of representative democracy as they currently exist, but rather the meaningful supplementation of those mechanisms to better involve citizens.

    The issue of how well Australian citizens are themselves equipped to engage in collaborative policy development and service design is a vexed one. Although the issue receives some attention in this paper, the focus of the discussion remains largely on the extent to which Australian public servants are, or should be, skilled in the art of citizen and stakeholder engagement. The kind of engagement usually envisaged between public servants and citizens typically requires of citizens a somewhat demanding set of attributes.

    They require the courage to articulate and defend their views and change them where justified , the civility to listen to and consider contrary views, and the reasoning ability to weigh evidence and assess claims. They should possess the capacity to defer immediate needs or personal preferences in the interests of longer term benefits or outcomes, or the public good. An induction into the civic dimensions of life through sporting and cultural clubs, voluntary associations would also help. Social exclusion and other deprivations are very likely to discourage many citizens from engagement, especially where inequalities of power and status prevail.

    Although surveying this research is beyond the scope of this paper, a brief initial consideration of some of the issues seems warranted here. Despite progress in the development of community engagement Barriers can relate to social, cultural and financial issues, to the overall approach to engagement, to procedures and to practical arrangements including specific aspects of this such as the tools used, and the attitudes of those involved. Modern policy and service delivery responses to social exclusion have involved more rigorous analyses of the nature of disadvantage, and more tailored, personalised and place-based approaches.

    Some examples of these are described in Appendix 1. But it remains the case that in situations of disadvantage and marginalisation, citizens are even less likely to possess the capabilities—knowledge, skills, dispositions—that would readily enable them to enter into dialogue and sustained deliberation with public servants and other professionals.

    There are encouraging signs that such approaches are working, building the personal and civic capacities of the citizens involved, and thereby enhancing the quality of the engagement and collaboration achieved. For example, the formal evaluation of the above-mentioned Centrelink program reported:. At the very least the personalised attention participants received increased their sense of wellbeing, and in most cases self-esteem.

    For most participants, just the feeling of being listened to for the first time was a positive experience. Other participants confirmed that the tailoring of services to meet their needs produced more tangible outcomes. These reports make clear that increasing the time spent supporting individual, marginalised customers has a positive effect, especially as experienced by participants themselves.

    The process of holistic interviewing, identification of needs and referrals was greatly appreciated by participants, who overwhelmingly wanted to improve their own circumstances. It should be self-evident that nurturing the personal capabilities of marginalised and disengaged citizens is a fundamental aspect of enhancing both the prospects for, and success of, subsequent efforts at collaborative policymaking and service delivery. Engaging with socially excluded and other marginalised people in order to design, with them, effective solutions and services requires considerable cross-agency collaboration—something which, as a rule, is notoriously difficult to achieve.

    Strong links with external service providers are also required. Better coordination is of itself rarely enough; additional resources are needed. But despite these challenges there are grounds for optimism in the successes of agencies like Centrelink. They express a distinctive commitment to collaboration in policy and services design, with public servants, citizens and relevant stakeholder groups working as partners across the spectrum of activity—from diagnosis and analysis of issues through to tactical and strategic considerations in pursuit of jointly devised outcomes.

    I find that I can argue the case for greater citizen engagement equally convincingly from the perspectives of shifting power from the state to the individual right? I can base my rationale either on the democratic rights of individual citizens left? I can posit the benefits of greater involvement of non-government organisations either from the perspective of creating competitive markets for the delivery of public goods right?

    My point is simply this: the politics of participation is complex but not fatal. Co-production essentially redefines the relationship between public service professionals and citizens from one of dependency to mutuality and reciprocity. On such an account, citizens in receipt of services are conceived as resources of value to, and collaborators in animating, the system, rather than as mere beneficiaries of it. That is, users of public services are not defined entirely by their needs, but also by what they might contribute to service effectiveness, and to other users and their communities through their own knowledge, experience, skills and capabilities.

    The past two decades have witnessed successful examples of co-production, including in developing countries [] , which typically enable struggling communities and disadvantaged individuals to collaborate with service organisations in designing and implementing solutions to their problems.

    Some relevant case studies appear in Appendix 1. The evidence In recent years, there has been a radical reinterpretation of the role of policymaking and service delivery in the public domain. Policy is now seen as the negotiated outcome of many interacting policy systems, not simply the preserve of policy planners and top decision-makers. Similarly, the delivery and management of services are no longer just the preserve of professionals and managers—users and other members of the community are playing a larger role in shaping decisions and outcomes. This is a revolutionary concept in public service Free delivery worldwide.

    Bestselling Series. Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. Description Argues that autonomous agencies are not the result of a systematic design, but are produced by the interactions of political and bureaucratic forces.

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    The case studies illustrate how political struggles between politicians and bureaucrats can create a muddle of agencies that lack coherence and are subject to conflicting levels of political control. Product details Format Hardback pages Dimensions x x Illustrations note XII, p. Other books in this series. Add to basket. Government Agencies Koen Verhoest. Government Transparency Tero Erkkila.

    Civil Servants and Politics Christine Neuhold. Translating Agency Reform Amanda Smullen. Frontiers of Governance L. International Bureaucracy Michael W. Decentralization and Governance Capacity Evrim Tan.

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    Political Struggles and the Forging of Autonomous Government Agencies (Public Sector Organizations) Political Struggles and the Forging of Autonomous Government Agencies (Public Sector Organizations)

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