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Public Engagement in Estonia –
lessons learnt and way forward
18.06.2015
1. Overview of the Public Engagement System in Estonia
2. Achievements and drawbacks in Public Engagement Practice
Road to systematic public engagement
in Estonia
4
2001
2012
2011
2007
2000 Public Information Act
Today I Decide
e-Participation Webpage osale.ee
Information System for
D...
Areas of application of public engagement rules
• Legislative intents;
• Drafts of laws and their amendments;
• Drafts of ...
PREPARATION OF
LEGISLATIVE INTENT
(since 2012)
• PROBLEM  OBJECTIVE  PREFERRED POLICY CHOICE
• PRELIMINARY IMPACT ASSESS...
INTER-MINISTERIAL
COORDINATION
• ALL MINISTRIES MUST CHECK
ENGAGEMENT AND IMPACTS IN THEIR
FIELD OF COMPETENCE
• MINISTRY ...
• Proportionality – more significant the impact, deeper and wider the
engagement;
• Flexibility in terms of means and scop...
Development and coordination
• Strategy Unit, Government Office
• Responsibilities:
• Enforcement of the Code of Public En...
Public Engagement in practice –
achievements and drawbacks
Evaluation of Public Engagement in Estonia
• 2004 – Engagement into Public Decision-Making
• 2010 – Analysis of Public Eng...
Achievements
• Small, open, transparent Government, horizontal approach;
• Engagement system in place;
• Many very good ex...
Stakeholders
Problem 1: Timing
• Ministries do not consult early
enough in the process
• There is not enough time left
for...
Stakeholders
Problem 2: Formalism
• Biggest motivation killer for
stakeholders
• Also related to timing –
consulting too l...
Stakeholders
Problem 3: Communication
• Unclear: What exactly do you
want an opinion on? Which of
these plans should affec...
Stakeholders
Problem 4: Feedback
• Feedback is too formalistic and
passive, often only in annex to
the draft;
• Not clear ...
Stakeholders
Problem 5: Preparation for being engaged
• Stakeholders passive
• Not enough capacity and
skills for proper
p...
Public sector
Problem 1: Regulatory framework
•Rules too soft and too
general;
•No rules on lobbying
•Currently no plans f...
Public sector
Problem 2: Planning and clear focus
• Public engagement training
focus;
• Renewed BR Programme 
consultatio...
Public sector
Problem 3: Analysis of the conduct of engagement
• No systematic case-by-case
collection and analysis of dat...
Thank you for your attention!
Helena Braun
Advisor of Regulatory Impact Assessment
Legislative Quality Division, Legislati...
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Public Engagement in Estonia – lessons learnt and way forward

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Presentation by Helena Braun, Advisor of Better Regulation Legislative Policy Department, Ministry of Justice, Estonia, at the 7th Expert Meeting on Measuring Regulatory Performance: Embedding Regulatory Policy in Law and Practice, Breakout session 2, Reykjavik, 18-19 June 2015. Further information is available at http://www.oecd.org/gov/regulatory-policy/measuring-regulatory-performance.htm

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Public Engagement in Estonia – lessons learnt and way forward

  1. 1. Public Engagement in Estonia – lessons learnt and way forward 18.06.2015
  2. 2. 1. Overview of the Public Engagement System in Estonia 2. Achievements and drawbacks in Public Engagement Practice
  3. 3. Road to systematic public engagement in Estonia
  4. 4. 4 2001 2012 2011 2007 2000 Public Information Act Today I Decide e-Participation Webpage osale.ee Information System for Draft Acts Adoption of: - Renewed rules of the Government of the Republic; - Renewed rules of legislative drafting; - Impact Assessment Guidelines; - New Version of Code of Good Engagement Practices 2001 Strategy on Estonian Third Sector Development (STSD) 2005Code of Good Engagement Practices Action Plan 2004-2006 for implementatino of STSD 2004 Estonia joins the Open Government Partnership 2015 2012 2007 Estonian Better Regulation Programme 2011 Guidelines for Development of Legislative Policy until 2018 Coalition Agreement 2015-2019 2015 (autumn) Renewed Better Regulation Programme 2002eRT – official publication portal of Estonian regulations
  5. 5. Areas of application of public engagement rules • Legislative intents; • Drafts of laws and their amendments; • Drafts of secondary regulations; • Drafts of development plans, strategies of the state; • EU draft legislation and other strategic documents; • Conventions and international agreements, as well as the documents that are worked out within their framework, and that influence the society; • Ex-post evaluations (no practical examples yet) Main focus of the presentation
  6. 6. PREPARATION OF LEGISLATIVE INTENT (since 2012) • PROBLEM  OBJECTIVE  PREFERRED POLICY CHOICE • PRELIMINARY IMPACT ASSESSMENT - IMPACTS AND THEIR SIGNIFICANCE • PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT CONSULTATION AND COORDINATION OF LEGISLATIVE INTENT • min 4 WEEKS OF CONSULTATION • ALL RELEVANT MINISTRIES MUST CHECK ENGAGEMENT PLANS AND ESTIMATED IMPACTS IN THEIR FIELD OF COMPETENCE • MINISTRY OF JUSTICE CHECKS THE OVERALL QUALITY •ALL COMMENTS BY MINISTRIES ARE PUBLIC PREPARATION OF LEGISLATIVE DRAFT • IN-DEPTH IMPACT ASSESSMENT OF SIGNIFICANT CHANGES • PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT • PLAN OF EX-POST RIA CONSULTATION • min 4 WEEKS OF CONSULTATION • FEEDBACK TO CONSULTATION All formal stages of policy cycle PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT IN LEGISLATIVE PROCESS
  7. 7. INTER-MINISTERIAL COORDINATION • ALL MINISTRIES MUST CHECK ENGAGEMENT AND IMPACTS IN THEIR FIELD OF COMPETENCE • MINISTRY OF JUSTICE CHECKS THE OVERALL QUALITY •ALL COMMENTS BY MINISTRIES ARE PUBLIC GOVERNMENT ENDORSES PARLIAMENT RIIGIKOGU DECIDES EX-POST RIA (since 2012) •PRESENTED TO THE PARLIAMENT, THE STAKEHOLDERS AND THE MINISTRY OF JUSTICE All formal stages of policy cycle PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT IN LEGISLATIVE PROCESS
  8. 8. • Proportionality – more significant the impact, deeper and wider the engagement; • Flexibility in terms of means and scope; • Minimum requirement for all acts – publication in Information System for Draft Acts; • Sufficient time for comments (by rule, min 4 weeks); • Adequate feedback (by rule, max within 30 days); • Obligatory summary of consultation results for decision-makers; • Analysis of the conduct of engagement (attainment of the goal, relevance of the used methods, participation of interest groups in consultation, efficiency of providing feedback and satisfaction of interest groups with the engagement). Principles of public engagement
  9. 9. Development and coordination • Strategy Unit, Government Office • Responsibilities: • Enforcement of the Code of Public Engagement; • Assistance to ministries (trainings, guidelines, explanatory materials); • Network of Public Engagement Coordinators of ministries; • Analysis of the conduct of engagement; • Open Government Partnership Day-to-day quality control • Public • All ministries • Special responsibility on Ministry of Justice - RIA quality control body
  10. 10. Public Engagement in practice – achievements and drawbacks
  11. 11. Evaluation of Public Engagement in Estonia • 2004 – Engagement into Public Decision-Making • 2010 – Analysis of Public Engagement Practices of Government Institutions • 2013 – Self-Assessment Report of Estonia's Open Government Partnership (OGP) • 2013 – Independent report on OGP implementation in Estonia • 2013 – Independent Analysis of Engagement Practices with regard to Environmental Regulation • 2014 – Preparations for OGP Action Plan 2014-2016
  12. 12. Achievements • Small, open, transparent Government, horizontal approach; • Engagement system in place; • Many very good examples of engagement; • E-solutions; • Extensive public engagement capacity building programme for both public sector and stakeholders; • Open Government Partnership – engagement focus + high level cooperation between Government and stakeholders; • Action on the basis of evaluation results; • Increased awareness of the benefits of public engagement in different levels
  13. 13. Stakeholders Problem 1: Timing • Ministries do not consult early enough in the process • There is not enough time left for comments • Introduction of legislative intent Challenges:  In 2014 only in 19% of the cases a legislative draft was preceded by a legislative intent. Speedy law-making has continued. Plans in 2015 BR Programme:  Requirement of early political validation  Changes to rules on exceptions  Obligatory engagement plan • Minimum requirement for time established Challenge:  Rules are too flexible  Connected to communication problem
  14. 14. Stakeholders Problem 2: Formalism • Biggest motivation killer for stakeholders • Also related to timing – consulting too late • Training, awareness building • Culture change • More formal steps in the process (legislative intent)
  15. 15. Stakeholders Problem 3: Communication • Unclear: What exactly do you want an opinion on? Which of these plans should affect me? • Unclear: How does the decision making process work? In which stages can I step in? • E-tools not well integrated and not user friendly enough • Focus of training courses – targeted communication, clear language OGP 2014-2016 + BR Programme draft: • Visualisation following Finnish example http://lainvalmistelu.finlex.fi/ ; • Improvement of work plans OGP priority for 2014-2016: • Integration of www.osale.ee and e-system for drafts; • Increase user friendliness and activeness
  16. 16. Stakeholders Problem 4: Feedback • Feedback is too formalistic and passive, often only in annex to the draft; • Not clear what purpose the comments served • OGP Action Plan 2014-2016: - Improving feedback quality is a priority; - Substantive feedback document obligatory • Focus of public engagement training courses
  17. 17. Stakeholders Problem 5: Preparation for being engaged • Stakeholders passive • Not enough capacity and skills for proper participation • Training (awareness+skills) • OGP Action plan 2014-2016 - Priority; - Funds for capacity building programmes
  18. 18. Public sector Problem 1: Regulatory framework •Rules too soft and too general; •No rules on lobbying •Currently no plans for detailed regulation; •OGP + renewed BR Programme
  19. 19. Public sector Problem 2: Planning and clear focus • Public engagement training focus; • Renewed BR Programme  consultation plans together with legislative intent
  20. 20. Public sector Problem 3: Analysis of the conduct of engagement • No systematic case-by-case collection and analysis of data; • Existing analysis mainly on the usefulness not on engagement satisfaction • Insufficient central coordination – differences between ministries • No concrete plans for solving these issues • Plan to strengthen central coordination + the role of engagement coordinators
  21. 21. Thank you for your attention! Helena Braun Advisor of Regulatory Impact Assessment Legislative Quality Division, Legislative Policy Department Estonian Ministry of Justice helena.braun@just.ee

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