The purpose of this paper is to argue that active citizenship and organisational transparency are necessary to increase stakeholders' influence in policy processes. Active citizenship is necessary to involve stakeholders in policy processes and organisational transparency is necessary to improve communications between them and policy makers.
First, this paper explains a conceptual framework to understand communications in social systems. Second, it illustrates its application with reference to concrete policies in England.
It is found that for active citizenship it is necessary not only to increase stakeholders' competencies but also make effective those organisational structures relevant to the policy issues of concern. However, and this is a key reason to increase people's competencies, these structures are the outcome of self‐organising processes shaped by those who are better organised, with more resources and in positions of power.
Beyond informed and well‐grounded dialogues, communications between citizens and policy makers happen through organisation structures that activate some resources at the expense of others and involve some stakeholders at the expense of others. Unless these structures make possible balanced communications between them, citizens will find it difficult to influence policy makers.
The paper sees the policy for active citizenship and community empowerment in England under the lens of a cybernetic framework.
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