Utilize este identificador para referenciar este registo: http://hdl.handle.net/10400.8/2740
Título: Improving stakeholder engagement in local strategic planning - experience sharing based on Portuguese examples
Autor: Lopes, Ana Sofia Patrício Pinto
Fernandes, Maria Eduarda
Sargento, Ana Lúcia Marto
Palavras-chave: Participatory models
Regional development
Collaborative methods
Local strategic planning
Data: 2017
Resumo: Participatory local governance refers to any mechanism that promotes the involvement of stakeholders in the public policy decision-making process. It goes from weaker initiatives related to conveying information on policy decisions in more effective means to stronger engaging processes in which stakeholders have an actual influence in the public policy (ranging from planning to implementation, monitoring and evaluating). Current context has triggered a fast dissemination of participatory initiatives, prompted by the expected benefits as increasing local government responsiveness and accountability; getting a better match between policy decisions and beneficiaries’ preferences; acknowledging stakeholders’ expertise; improving confidence on politicians; promoting informal knowledge transfer; reinforcing citizens’ capability to intervene and to commit upon the decisions and contributing to a higher implementation success. Yet, there are also some recognized risks as the prolonged decision-making process, overstated stakeholders’ expectations, privileging some specific groups of civil society, lack of technical skills of stakeholders or the possible biased motivation of local authorities. In this context, the main aim of this paper consists in sharing practice based experience on collaborative local strategic planning, highlighting specific methods that have been put in place by the authors to enhance stakeholders’ engagement, trying to surpass some of the identified risks. This experience was gained through the authors’ participation, as an external and independent expertise team, in three Portuguese participatory processes. By combining several group dynamics and problem solving tools, the methods shared in this paper allowed for the development of local strategic plans, built by stakeholders, ensuring a high commitment with the planned objectives and actions. In two of the tree cases analysed, such plans were used to apply to regional policy instruments of ESF for 2014-2020, having been highly recognized by the Structural Funds managing authorities, thus resulting in the allocation of important funds to local entities, vital for territorial development. An evaluation of the applied methods is provided, envisioned to support future similar initiatives. The collaborative methods have received an encouraging feedback expressed both by the citizen representatives and local authorities, being the quality and diversity of stakeholders and the methodology applied by the expertise team referred as its main strengths. Therefore, these can be considered good practice examples for achieving more effective means of local participatory mechanisms as they support independent debate groups, promote equal participation, knowledge sharing, new ideas and consensus reaching, building on local stakeholders technical skills. In sum, the applied methodologies contribute for a strong involvement of stakeholders and actual influence on public policy decisions.
Peer review: yes
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10400.8/2740
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