Civil Participation in Decision-Making

An Overview of Standards and Practices in Council of Europe Member States


This paper was prepared by the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law in 2016 at the request of the Council of Europe to support the ongoing efforts in drafting the Guidelines on meaningful civil participation in political decision-making.

The scope of the civil participation covered in the overview encompasses participation in decision-making processes by individuals and by their organisations. The overview describes the policy cycle in which participation occurs and describes the standards and practices from the perspective of the three main levels of participation: access to information, consultation and active partnership. The overview also provides examples of mechanisms and models which promote broader dialogue as the overarching form of engagement that applies to all levels and phases.

Ultimately, the overview aims to facilitate cross-border learning and to support the Council of Europe in developing guidelines that will help formalize the right to participation, strengthen guarantees and contribute to meaningful, effective and participatory decision-making processes on national level.

The Council of Europe Guidelines for Civil Participation in Political Decision-Making