Federal government turning to Dragons’ Den to shake up policymaking

Interesting. Is this part of transition planning for a future government that may be more willing to loosen the reins?

Or is it more “make work” given that we have a government that, for understandable – if not necessarily justifiable – reasons, prefers to limit discussion and debate, and reduce the independence of watchdogs.

How much latitude does the government want bureaucrats to have, given their perception, not completely unfounded, of our biases?

Will future governments bring us “back to the good old days” (which were not so good anyway) or not?:

According to the briefing documents, some of the innovative policy ideas the government is looking to test as pilot projects could include using social media or other tools to engage or consult the public, end users and others to help inform policy development; or creating a “tiger team” to address specific, time-limited objectives.

Other examples of possible pilot projects include using open data, such as launching a challenge to design apps, or innovative “social finance instruments” to help address social problems.

The deputy ministers’ committee was created in November 2012 and originally called the DMs’ “committee on social media and policy development.” It was initially mandated to consider links between social media and policymaking, including new models for policy development and public engagement.

As of December 2013, the committee was asked to move beyond social media to examine trends and new technologies to help improve and transform policy development.

Yet, the rise of social media and its impact on how government communicates its messages and develops policy remains a concern to the government, according to the documents.

“Many governments around the world are seeing their authority decrease as autonomous networks of citizens and stakeholder groups emerge, decreasing the impact of governments on public policy. Concurrently, the public is becoming less deferential to authority,” the documents note.

The changes in ease of access to information and data are “effectively undoing governments’ monopoly on policy analysis,” says the briefing material.

“Social media is fundamentally changing the nature of citizen-state relations. Citizens increasingly expect democratic governments to be transparent, participative, responsive, and to provide customizable and digital services,” the documents say.

“The speed of social media interactions puts pressure on government to develop quick and coordinated responses, which can conflict with longer-term policy and communications planning and priority setting.”

Federal government turning to Dragons’ Den to shake up policymaking | Ottawa Citizen.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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