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Rulemaking 2.0: Understanding and Getting Better Public Participation

This 2013 report from the IBM Center for The Business of Government is based on five case studies of e-rulemaking experiments to better engage the public, and offers advice on how agencies can increase the quantity and quality of public participation. By authors Cynthia R.Farina and Mary J.Newhart with CeRI (the Cornell eRulemaking Initiative).

From Center Executive Director Dan Chenok’s announcement: 

Pages from Rulemaking 2 0

This report provides important insights in how governments can improve the rulemaking process by taking full advantage of Rulemaking 2.0 technology, building on the progress made by the U.S. Government’s longstanding Regulations.Gov initiative.  The report’s findings and recom­mendations are based on five experiments with Rulemaking 2.0 conducted by CeRI researchers, four in partnership with the Department of Transportation and one with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

While geared specifically to achieving better public participation in rulemaking, the concepts, findings, and recommendations contained in the report are applicable to all government agen­cies interested in enhancing public participation in a variety of processes.  The report offers advice on how government organi­zations can increase both the quantity and quality of public participation from specific groups of citizens, including missing stakeholders, unaffiliated experts, and the general public.

The report describes three barriers to effective participation in rulemaking: lack of awareness, low participation literacy, and information overload.  While the report focuses on rulemaking, these barriers also hinder public participation in other arenas.  The report offers three strategies to overcome such barriers:

  • Outreach to alert and engage potential new participants
  • Converting newcomers into effective commenters
  • Making substantive rulemaking information accessible

This report makes an excellent companion piece to two previous IBM Center reports. In 2011, the Center published Assessing Public Participation in an Open Government Era: A Review of Federal Agency Plans, by Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Joe Goldman, and David Stern. That report addresses how public participation can be increased via online public participation, face-to-face public participation, and formal public participation (such as rulemaking and federal advisory committees). An earlier IBM Center report, The Management of Regulation Development: Out of the Shadows, by American University President Cornelius Kerwin, addressed the need to government to give increased attention to its role in regulation development and rulemaking.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Introduction
    • Purpose of this Report
    • Intended Audience and Outline
  • Understanding the Barriers to Rulemaking Participation
    • Case Studies
    • Barriers to Effective Participation
  • Understanding Types of Potential Rulemaking Participants
    • Type One: Sophisticated Commenters
    • Type Two: Missing Stakeholders
    • Type Three: Unaffiliated Experts
    • Type Four: Members of the General Public
  • Strategies to Lower Participation Barriers and Enhance Participation Quality
    • Strategy One: Outreach to Alert and Engage Potential New Participants
    • Strategy Two: Converting Newcomers to Effective Commenters
    • Strategy Three: Making Substantive Rulemaking Information Accessible
  • Recommendations
    • Understanding and Getting Broader and Better Rulemaking Participation
    • Building a New Culture of Rulemaking Participation—From Inside the Agency Out
  • References
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the Authors
  • Key Contact Information

About the IBM Center for The Business of Government
The IBM Center for The Business of Government connects public management research with practice. Since 1998, the Center has helped public sector executives improve the effectiveness of government with practical ideas and original thinking. They sponsor independent research by top minds in academe and the non-profit sector, and create opportunities for dialogue on a broad range of public management topics. The Center’s publications focus on the major management issues facing all governments today: e-government, financial management, human capital management, managing for performance and results, market-based government, and innovation, collaboration and transformation.

Resource Link: http://www.businessofgovernment.org/blog/business-government/new-report-examines-state-rulemaking-20

Direct Download: http://www.businessofgovernment.org/sites/default/files/Rulemaking%202%200.pdf

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