Evaluating Citizen Engagement in Policy Making

Despite increasing opportunities for public participation in policy-making, there has been little research or evaluation of the effectiveness of such exercises. Assumptions abound about what contributes to effective public participation and which of a variety of methods are most suitable in different circumstances – but these assumptions are rarely tested in practice. This paper presents a proposed evaluation framework consisting of five key factors and related criteria drawn from the academic and applied literature on citizen engagement. It applies the framework to evaluate the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform and concludes with suggestions on how the framework could be further developed and applied.


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