Initiatives to encourage the involvement of citizens and NGOs in decision-making can be seen in a wide variety of countries. Interactive policy-making, citizen panels, citizen charters, new forms of participation and other forms are being used to increase the influence of citizens on decision-making. An important issue in scientific debate is the relationship between citizen participation and existing democratic institutions. The main question for this article therefore is: what are the possibilities and difficulties in creating interconnections between interactive governance and existing democratic institutions? We have conducted an action research project to organize this interconnection between an interactive governance project (Around Arnemuiden, Living with Water) and existing democratic institutions. We describe and evaluate the interface arrangements we created: political, executive, professional, and policy interface. The executive, professional, and policy interfaces turned out to be weak or moderate, while the political interfaces was strong. Executives and professionals are reluctant to actively involve and commit to interactive processes. The organization of the interconnection between interactive processes and existing representative democratic institutions is very difficult and needs constant maintenance.

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Policy Sciences: an international journal devoted to the improvement of policy making
Department of Public Administration

Edelenbos, J., van Schie, N., & Gerrits, L. (2010). Organizing interfaces between government institutions and interactive governance. Policy Sciences: an international journal devoted to the improvement of policy making, 43(1), 73–94. doi:10.1007/s11077-009-9086-2