Citizen Participation in Local Government Decision Making: Matching Technologies and Processes to Objectives
Modern society will only reach its potential when citizens individually and collectively are able to use their knowledge and capabilities to shape their lives and communities. Citizen participation in government decision making that uses online technologies is one way of leveraging this capacity, and has been termed e-participation. Case studies of a Swedish and an Australia local government examine how e-participation fits into initiatives to increase community participation in decision making. Interactive chat sessions between stakeholders can facilitate debate. Information portals can provide supporting information in interesting and accessible ways. E-voting can enable greater input and influence by a wider number of citizens. But ultimately the technology choice and e-participation implementation must be driven by the objectives of the engagement exercise, and these can range from better decisions to community capacity building and issues of trust and legitimacy.
Keywords: E-Participation, Citizen Participation, Local Government, Decision Making, Sweden, Australia
Dr. Peter Demediuk
Senior Lecturer, School of Accounting & Finance