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Alumni Activity Citizen Participation

Last Tuesday 20 February, the first Public Administration Alumniactivity took place, with the theme: Citizen participation in theory and practice. Carola van Eijk talked about her PhD Research 'Engagement of citizens and public professors in the co-production of public services.' Menno Spaan, founder of Haagse Beek organisational advice, spoke about citizen participation in practice.

It was a pleasant evening wherein Carola first spoke about her research. Her research focused on various forms of citizen participation, including client councils from nursing homes and neighborhood teams. Her research has shown that in order to promote participation, several things have to be fulfilled; The citizens must be motivated enough, must be willing to actively engage, and the social environment of the citizen must promote this participation. It also turned out that different citizens have different motivations to participate: for some it concerns the network and the sociability, others want to develop, and others want to make the neighborhood better. It is a complex area.

After a short break, Menno took the floor, and told everyone about one of his assignments as a consultant. He supervised the change process of the Municipality of Nijkerk. In which the Council and the College decided to leave a big part of the decision making to the citizens. The citizens were enthusiastic about this, and in the end there was a group of 30 people, who represented all citizens of the municipality.  This group started working on new policy. In this process many things went well, there were many exciting moments, and many turning points for citizens, council and college as well as officials from the municipality of Nijkerk. An inspiring, hopeful and enthusiastic story to hear!

After the presentation, an interesting discussion started with all those present to discuss the subject of citizen participation even further. In conclusion, everybody had some drinks to end this successful evening.

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