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Why is citizen engagement important in a democracy?

Blog +1

April 6, 2023

Citizen engagement is crucially important for the health and vitality of any democracy. Democracies are based on the idea that the citizens have the power and that elected representatives are accountable to the citizens. But this only works when citizens are actively engaged and participating in the democratic process.

There are several key reasons why citizen engagement matters in a democracy:

It leads to better policies and decisions.

When more citizens participate by voting, contacting their representatives, volunteering for campaigns, and joining community organizations, it gives policymakers a fuller range of perspectives and interests to consider. Policies that emerge from deeper civic participation tend to be more reflective of citizens' actual needs and priorities.

It strengthens the legitimacy of government.

When more people make their voices heard, it gives government officials a stronger mandate to act. By engaging citizens in debates over policies and laws, representatives can craft proposals that citizens broadly support, thereby strengthening the legitimacy of the system.

It builds social cohesion.

By bringing citizens together around common goals and shared interests, engagement helps unite people and build a common purpose and identity. This social solidarity is essential for navigating challenges and conflicts in a democratic society.

It counteracts the influence of money in politics.

Despite the principle of "one person, one vote," wealthy interests are able to spend huge amounts of money to influence politicians and shape policymaking. Broader citizen participation helps balance out this influence of money and prevents the system from being skewed to benefit only the most wealthy and powerful.

It keeps democracy vibrant and evolving.

Active citizenship helps sustain and renew democracy. When citizens are aware, informed, and participating, it ensures that democracy remains responsive, relevant, and capable of progressing in a way that aligns with citizens' changing needs and priorities over time.

How the PSI app is empowering public sector organisations to facilitate democratic decision-making

The PSI app allows public sector organisations to pose questions, spark discussions, and conduct real-time engagement with a large number of citizens at once. Using the app, organisations can poll hundreds or even thousands of people on important issues, get their perspectives, and gain qualitative insights to inform policymaking. By deliberating with many citizens collectively rather than a select few, the app helps generate ideas, perspectives and proposals that have been vetted and shaped by a broadly representative range of voices.

The mass input enabled by the app provides data and insights that go beyond superficial opinions or surface-level feedback. Citizens can discuss issues in depth, build upon each other's ideas, challenge misconceptions, and seek nuanced consensus - culminating in proposals and solutions that have been thoroughly debated and refined. This kind of profound, multidimensional input gives organizations access to knowledge and wisdom that might not surface through conventional public comment periods or town halls alone.

By facilitating open-ended, ongoing, and multi-directional engagement at scale, the PSI app helps make democratic decision-making more data-driven, deliberative, and equitable. Organizations gain unique access to the experiences, priorities, and perspectives of all segments of the community, not just vocal minorities. And citizens, in turn, feel that their voices have been fully heard, considered, and integrated into the policies and initiatives that shape society. Mass engagement, enabled by technology, leads to a stronger, more just, and more representative form of democracy.

In summary, the PSI app provides public service organizations with a powerful mechanism for inclusive, data-rich and deliberative engagement with citizens on the topics that matter most. By fostering deeper discussion and seeking consensus at scale, the app helps make democratic participation more meaningful, impactful and justice-oriented.

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