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ICT Tools for Public Participation in Policymaking: the Comparative Analysis of UK and Russia

Student: Anton Fominykh

Supervisor: Nina Y. Belyaeva

Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences

Educational Programme: Political Analysis and Public Policy (Master)

Final Grade: 8

Year of Graduation: 2021

ICT influence the way government policies are being developed, transferring the public engagement to the online dimension. In the work we studied the theories of Policy Cycle and Levels of Public Participation. We described most common citizens-led and government-led tools and practices from the UK and Russia. We examined a number of different forms of democratic participation by means of ICT tools that change general one-way communication, from authority to citizens, to a more broad and representative method of collaboration and deliberation. Nevertheless, government websites are one of the most widely used tools, by itself, they do not provide as deep engagement as tools with wide-public input do. The latest possess similar value, with the advantage of being less expensive and with constant support and knowledge from users. We analyzed relatively successful examples and practices from both countries and to make it more useful for future researches, we suggest a general representation that include, policy cycle stages, levels and goals of public participation, as well as the most common tools and their examples in different tables. Although the list of the tools is not comprehensive, it can give any practitioner who wants to use them a quick look at a big variety of choices. To answer the question, which technological tools are more effective on particular stages of policy cycle and level of public engagement we conducted an analysis of multiple tools in two countries and connected them to the theories. ICT tools are used more often and more effective on agenda-setting and formulation stages of policy cycle. While there is no such strong correspondence between level of public engagement and effectiveness of tools, there are more examples of tools with the deeper level of engagement in UK than in Russia. It can be explained by difference in democratic development. In full democracies, like UK, ICT tools for public engagement are working more effectively on its deeper levels. We also found that in full democracies, such as UK, with strong civil society and high level of ICT literacy among population, the ICT tools are more effective if they are citizens-led, while in autocracies, such as Russia, with less developed civil society, ICT tools are more effective, if they are government-led. UK experience can be used for bettering Russia’s practices.

Full text (added May 23, 2021)

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