Designing citizen-centred governance

This resource from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation explores different forms of citizen participation and the principles on which citizen-centred governance is based. There are growing opportunities for citizens to get involved in policymaking and in the governance of places and public services, and thus this resource can be of help to policymakers, practitioners, citizen groups, etc. involved (or interested) in such processes.

Date added 8 September 2021
Last updated 10 September 2021

*This resource is about citizen participation. It is not specifically about the High Street, but has been included in response to requests for more studies/information about this topic, as well as linking to place management and networks priorities for High Street vitality and viability. It is more than 5 years old but has been included as it contains information that is still relevant and useful*

This resource from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation is a result of a research project consisting of primary and secondary data involving new research in: a Sure Start children’s centre; a community-based housing association; a Local Strategic Partnership; an NHS Foundation Trust in the West Midlands; as well as state of knowledge from national evaluation teams.

This resource identifies a series of realities that make citizen-centred governance a challenge. It highlights, for example, how citizens living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods can feel extra burdens when having to overcome day-to-day challenges as well as having to engage in participatory processes; that there are specialised governing bodies operating alongside local governments, which makes the picture rather complex; and that often, the purpose of citizen participation is not clear which can result in wasted efforts and experiences of frustration.

This resource highlights key points of citizen participation as well as delineating the way forward. For example, that new forms of governance can be more flexible and less formal and therefore encourage more people with diverse backgrounds to participate, encouraging diverse voices. That, there is a need for new designs and experimentation that allow for local knowledge to come into play, but also a need to monitor what works. And that, neighbourhood structures are important to make these efforts effective, mapping different governance bodies and fostering effective links between them.