Is P2 today the same as it was 20 years ago, when IAP2 was in its infancy? Chances are, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone to say that it is, and even harder-pressed still to find anyone to say it will be the same as it is today, even 20 months from now, let alone that many years. But where is P2 heading? What are citizens like and what do they expect these days? Tina Nabatchi and Matt Leighninger have just brought out a book, Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy, and they shared some of their insights in our most recent webinar, held August 25.
In the book, Tina and Matt argue that current P2 infrastructure is out-dated, weak and inefficient; still based on what they call the “Three Minutes at the Microphone” model, which is more geared towards getting comments on the record than actually engaging citizens in a dialogue. They state that, despite reluctance – even fear – on the part of elected officials and bureaucrats to take P2 deeper, there are demonstrated benefits they would do well to consider, including:
- Lower corruption
- Lower inequality
- More community connectedness
- Higher trust in government
- Higher tax compliance
- Higher completion rates for government projects
- Officials more likely to be reelected
Tina and Matt also discuss “thick” and “thin” P2: “thin” being the broad-brush approach of reaching out to a wide range of people at once with a wide range of information; “thick” referring to more detailed, small-group discussions.
NB: there will be no webinar in September, due to the North American Conference. On October 13, John Stephens and Rick Morse of the University of North Carolina will be our presenters in “Getting Engaged – Staying Engaged”, about their insights in using a blog to keep people engaged – even when there’s no cause for a P2 project. Click here for more information and to register.