Directorate for Public Governance
Infrastructure: integrate a consultation process
OECD Framework for the Governance of Infrastructure
5. INTEGRATE A CONSULTATION PROCESS
The consultation process should be proportionate to the size of the project and take account of the overall public interest and the views of the relevant stakeholders.
The process should be broad-based, inspire dialogue and draw on public access to information and users’ needs.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
- Infrastructure impacts communities - without well managed consultation, good projects may falter.
- Consultations in democratic countries should take into account the role of elected representatives and executives to take action on behalf of the public good in a timely fashion.
- Policies, laws and large infrastructure projects should be developed in an open and transparent fashion, with appropriate and well-publicized procedures for effective and timely inputs from interested local, national and (if relevant) foreign parties.
- Consultation processes can enhance the legitimacy of the project among stakeholders, as well-executed consultation can bring a sense of shared ownership.
- Structured public consultation not only fosters ownership in infrastructure projects, it also creates opportunities for various communities to become advocates of their benefits and provide incentives for good performance.
- It should be noted, however, that while consultation and citizen engagement is necessary for good governance, it is not an easy undertaking.
- Consultations must therefore be structured in such a way that the process can be finished in a timely manner and that policy capture and other distortions are avoided.
KEY POLICY QUESTIONS:
- Is there an open government or consultation strategy?
- Are specific stakeholder groups consulted throughout infrastructure project phases?
- Are structured dialogue mechanisms in place to ensure systematic public consultation?
- Are there formal mechanisms to involve the public in the monitoring and implementation of infrastructure investments during the construction phase and upon completion?
- Is there a forum, process or procedure for determining the balance between stakeholder interests and the public good?
AT WHAT STAGE OF THE PROCESS DOES CONSULTATION TAKE PLACE?
- National open government strategy or guidelines (either designed for infrastructure investments or that could be applied to them);
- Stakeholder consultation fora or participatory budgeting programs;
- Websites or other outreach tools to provide public information on infrastructure projects;
- Participatory auditing procedures.
GETTING INFRASTRUCTURE RIGHT
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