Antxon Gallego Solaetxe. Ibatuz. Open government, Participation, New Technologies.

Public administrations are faced with the challenge of integrating a new communications culture, an updated organisational model and deploying creative talent both within and without the limits of their functions and competences.

A challenge that involves viewing leaders, the public sector and the citizenry as necessary protagonists and collaborators, based on different assumptions about their activity and interaction, regarding the implementation, management and/or assessment of public policies.

It also implies a series of measures for advancing towards a public administration model that involves transparency, accountability, public-private collaboration and citizen participation in everyday political and administrative work, and internalising the concepts and principles of Good Governance, conceived as a natural means of providing public administration, and one that offers a realistic general framework, adapted to its idiosyncrasy, that is structured and above all effective.

A protocol or road map that facilitates the transition to innovative models, one that is adapted to emerging social, political and economic landscapes, which guarantees the implementation of systematic innovation of forms of government and service provision, an organisational tool that is cross-cutting and focussed on better decision making and progressing towards relational governance and the use of new technologies for developing a governance model that incorporates participation, debate and deliberation.

Models of public administration wherein citizen participation is identified a key to good governance, and that cannot be conceived nor presented, in any way whatsoever as being a call to abstraction: requiring clarity and concreteness. Which require planning and stating what (subject), who (roles), how (methods), with what resources (new technologies, budget, etc.), when (times), why (reasons) and what for (objectives), clearly defining the rules of the game and the commitments throughout the process and also its end.

Citizen participation mechanisms that must not replicate and/or replace representative processes. What’s more, instances where the new forms of participation have operated most effectively have involved them reinforcing the representative process rather than ignoring it altogether. They are complementary and mutually reinforcing.

There is no doubt whatsoever that these new forms of conceiving public administration are not a passing fad. They are here to stay.

A new paradigm in which formal (rules and regulations) and informal institutions promote transparency, accountability, effectiveness, coherence, participation, integration and objectivity or impartiality through the creation of rules, the generation of the appropriate processes so that said rules can become a reality and can be implemented, and the constitution of bodies that ensure that those institutions and their processes develop properly.

Patience, prudence, and above all time, and its circumstances, will prove if we are right or wrong.