Citizens to be at heart of European policy making. And what is NL doing?

Before reading the below article, a question to ask ourselves is – Can the public library as an institution provide a platform for civilian participation on local political, developmental, social matters. In a nut shell, provide the local government with soft feedback for them to get an idea of the of their success in local projects. And possibly as a reward the citizens get life long support for their social, personal developmental needs.

Now the article…

A new report published jointly today by the British, Danish and Dutch governments challenges the way European institutions make decisions and argues that smart EU regulation must mean that businesses and citizens are put at the heart of all European policy-making.

Source: BIS
Published Friday, 12 March, 2010 – 09:36

“The report, “Smart Regulation: A cleaner, fairer and more competitive EU” addresses this and shows how smart EU regulation — that improves consultation with “end-users”, such as businesses and consumers, throughout the legislative process — will support growth and recovery in the current economic climate, maximise the European Union’s social and environmental benefits, while reducing burdens and costs.”

Note the use of the term “end-user“:

“We use the term ‘end-user’ to capture everyone who is affected by regulation – both those who incur costs as a result of compliance and those who receive its benefits. In many cases, these groups can often be the same. People who ‘use’ regulation should be able to understand why it is needed, what its benefits are and that the costs it may impose are necessary and proportionate.

We believe that making end-users central to the policy-making process – by being aware of their needs, seeking their views, using these views and demonstrating the value of their contributions – is the best way to achieve this aim. End-users are best placed to provide relevant, up-to-date information, which can improve the quality of the evidence on which decisions are based.”

The Commission, state the authors, should reinforce and apply user-centric approaches when developing new legislation. This will help ensure that the legislation is well targeted and effective and increase the likelihood of compliance.


There are many examples across the EU where Member States and the Commission can draw inspiration on how to seek views and communicate with end-users:

Kafka (Belgium) – Belgium’s Kafka initiative introduced an online contact point, where citizens can submit comments on existing regulations and make proposals for their improvement and simplification. The proposals received on the website have formed the basis of a reform programme – the Kafka Plan – for the entire Federal Government. Over 200 specific simplification projects have been implemented under the plan, ranging from the abolition of paper accounts to the improvement of home-working regulations.

Here is an interesting movie on how the Kafka project helped cut down the red tape for one to start a business, watch it – here

Burden Hunters Project (Denmark) – The Burden Hunter project applies user-centric innovation techniques to allow users themselves to identify the red tape that causes them most irritation. Civil servants have conducted visits to businesses to see first- hand the regulatory challenges they face. The user-centric approach allows businesses themselves to set the agenda for regulatory action and help develop solutions to cut administrative burdens. Work is ongoing to deliver results on a range of problems within nine areas perceived as particularly irritating, including government inflexibility, lack of mutual obligation and complexity. The Burden Hunter project has led to identifying a number of new initiatives to cut red tape.

Simplifying Together (France) – France has developed a framework that focuses on ‘life-events’ in order to better understand the burdens faced by businesses. These include key points in the life of a business, such as starting up, moving premises or hiring an employee. Using this framework, and through a broad process of consultation with the users of regulation, they have developed a programme to reduce the number of processes, the cost and the time to navigate these events.

– Read press release
– Download executive summary
– Download report

Link to supporting articles – E Gov monitor

Article via putting people first

For further reading on participatory models, refer the links below:

On community websites

Community development

Citizen participation


Social cohesion

The Dutch government too has been taking part in citizen participation:


The basic agenda is to resolve the below 10 bottlenecks…

1. Quick and safe

Waiting for the government is traditionally a common complaint. All citizens have the authority to do and want quick and good help.
More about this bottleneck

2. Simple application and accountability of aid

Annual welfare recipients are about 10 million hours working on the application and accountability of the assistance. This is about 10% of the total administrative expenses of all citizens in the Netherlands.
More on this problem

3. Provide personal data once

Citizens need a quick and easy way to find out what income-support schemes they are eligible. It is important to avoid a search through various public authorities should take.
More about this bottleneck

4. Independent applications instead of a travel document

People who want to apply for a travel document, to this moment in their own community at the desk doing. These citizens often takes a long time.
More about this bottleneck

5. Fewer permits

Permits are intended to public interests and the interests of third parties. The administrative procedures leading to regulatory pressure from citizens, however.
More about this bottleneck

6. Understandable language

Clear forms provide much comfort. For invullers understand what is asked, are quicker and make fewer mistakes.
More about this bottleneck

7. More confidence

By starting from a new trust The government move to reduce administrative burdens for citizens to reduce.
more about this problem

8. Listening to complaints

The legalization of problems and complaints from citizens by the government in opposition and appeal procedures is one of the main bottlenecks for citizens.
More on this problem

9. Volunteers

Volunteer their time to devote to the work that they value. If the municipalities and the empire it makes it easy, this will contribute to the community.
More about this bottleneck

10. A 7 service

Citizens can expect clear information, a speedy processing of their applications, and no unnecessary interrogate data.
More on this problem


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