Work of Agora CE is based on a proven participative model in seven steps.
With this model, the local government may invite citizens to participate in decision-making process before the officials submit their own proposals. Due to this model, more people and entities can take part in the planning and decision making (representatives, citizens, workers hall, non-governmental organizations).
Consultation of those involved: During this step, discussions are held with town hall officials, politicians and others about the points for discussion, about the problems in the community to select points for discussion. It also becomes clear whether there is support in the town hall for interactive policy-making. It is especially important for city councillors and executives to support the concept of citizen participation concerning the selected issues.
- Step 1. Preparing - drawing up agenda
To ensure the success of the project, it is necessary to establish a number of ground rules. This is best done by committing the city to a document, which defines the objectives and activities of the project. Anybody who wants to participate in the discussions will know what to expect.
- Step 2. Define the Playground
How do citizens feel about the issues? What are their priorities? What dilemmas are they facing? This can be established through newspaper surveys, by organising city walks, by having council members and employees of the town hall interview their citizens by telephone, etc. It depends on the chosen issue in step 1.
- Step 3. Involve the public
All those who might be interested in the issue (councillors, officials, civil servants, NGOs, citizens and entrepreneurs) are invited to attend a round table discussion. The results of the research done instep 3 are used as a starting point. The discussions are aimed at compiling a list of priorities and possible solutions. Workgroups are formed.The workgroups meet regularly over a period of several months. They discuss and prepare action plans. Citizens, NGOs, civil servants, councillors and executives participate in the workgroups. The results are presented to the city council during a second public meeting. Different options and solutions are discussed.The city council decides which parts of the plans will be implemented. Resources are allocated and a timetable is drawn up for execution. The reasons underlying the decisions will be communicated to all the citizens. Resources are allocates and a timetable for execution is set.
- Step 4. Select the prioritiesrit - first public meeting
The officials responsible for implementing the action plans report regularly (every three months) regarding progress. This can be done through the media or during meetings with citizens who have been closely involved during the process.
- Step 7. Implementation - realising of action plans