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    The new participation ladder: the difference between government and citizen participation

    “Government participation is the new citizen participation.” It’s a claim we often come across online. But doesn’t it come down to the same thing? The government facilitates and stimulates citizen initiatives; citizens and involved parties can submit initiatives. In this blog, we share our views on the differences and similarities between government and citizen participation.

    Citizen participation or government participation? (Source: Berenschot)

    In the image above, Berenschot lists the differences between citizen participation and government participation. With citizen participation, policy is placed in the center; with government participation, citizens’ possibilities and needs are central, instead.

    The new participation ladder

    Buurtperspectief developed a participation ladder that takes into account both the citizens’ and the government’s perspective. This emphasizes the collaboration and degree of interaction between the two parties.

    Participation ladder (Source: Buurtperspectief)

    The participation ladder seen in the picture above was developed by Buurtperspectief. The ladder has four levels of participation:


    1. One-way communication
      The government informs citizens or citizens gather information.
    1. Question/answer
      The government consults with citizens or citizens raise an issue with the government.
    1. Dialog
      The government asks citizens for advice or citizens present their proposals to the government.
    2. Collaboration
      The government and citizens collaborate and decide together.

    Mett’s participation platform

    Do you, as (local) government) want to facilitate citizen or government participation? Mett’s participation platform might be what you need. With our platform, you can decide on the level of interaction, allowing you to set it up for citizen or government participation. Curious to learn more about our platform? Request a free test environment.