Values versus Voice in Local Government: How Management Values Align with Giving Voice to Citizens
Effective community engagement by local governments has the potential to facilitate citizens, individually and collectively, in using their knowledge and capacity to shape their lives and communities, and can help provide better decisions, better citizens and better government. However, there is a gap in our understanding of the degree to which the current values held by management in local governments are compatible with the concept of community engagement and its operationalisation. This paper uses a model to test the values of chief financial officers (CFOs - as key managerial gatekeepers) and the compatibility of these with what is required to facilitate citizen participation in government decision making. The findings note that whilst there is a considerable degree of misalignment between council attributes now and what is conducive for effective community engagement initiatives, CFOs have a view for the future values in local government that better support citizen participation in the work of government. In particular, CFOs have acknowledged the desirability of displacing professional and bureaucratic ideas that can limit community engagement with more supportive entrepreneurial and planning ideals.
Keywords: Local Government, Community Engagement, Citizen Participation, Decision Making, Values
Dr. Peter Demediuk
Senior Lecturer, Centre for International Corporate Governance Research
Prof. Rolf Solli
Director, Goteborg Research Institute, Goteborg University