"Public participation in crisis policymaking. How 30,000 Dutch citizens advised their government on relaxing COVID-19 lockdown measures"

Authors: Niek Mouter, Jose Ignacio Hernandez and Anatol Itten

After the COVID-19 outbreak, governments have taken unprecedented measures to stop the spread of the virus. Public participation in decisions about (the relaxation of) these measures is strikingly absent, despite recommendations in the literature. Participants received information regarding the societal impacts of each relaxation option, such as the impact of the option on the healthcare system. The results of the PVE informed policymakers about people’s preferences regarding (the impacts of) the relaxation options. We show how these preferences can be used to rank options in terms of desirability. 

“"Including young people, cutting time and producing useful outcomes: Participatory value evaluation as a new practice of public participation in the Dutch energy transition"”

Authors: Niek Mouter, Ruth Shortall, Shannon Spruit en Anatol Itten.

To achieve a successful energy transition, it is vital to integrate citizens’ needs into government policies through participatory processes. Because PVE was originally designed as an economic evaluation method, it is unclear whether it can be deployed for effective participation. This study investigates how PVE could be deployed for effective participation of citizens in the energy transition through a real-world experiment in the Netherlands. We aimed to conduct the PVE in line with goals of stakeholders which is the most important requirement for effective participation. We fully achieved three goals that were defined by stakeholders: PVE enables participation of people that normally do not participate (particularly young people); low time investment of civil servants; outcomes of a PVE should be useful for decision-making. We partly achieved two goals: PVE raises awareness among citizens about decisions and implications of the energy transition; participation should be meaningful for citizens.

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