(Council of Europe document)
The involvement of NGOs in the different steps of the political decision-making process varies based on the intensity of participation. There are four gradual levels of participation, from least to most participative. These are: information; consultation; dialogue; and partnership.
The Code offers a repertoire of good practices. It does not have a mandatory character, does not prescribe rules, or require enforcement mechanisms. It offers all actors in the democratic process guidelines stemming from concrete practical experience of dialogue and co-operation between NGOs and public authorities. The final aim is to facilitate their interaction and to enhance citizens’ empowerment and participation in the democratic process at local, regional and national levels.
The principal objective of this Code of Good Practice for Civil Participation is to contribute to the creation of an enabling environment for NGOs in Council of Europe member States and Belarus by defining at European level a set of general principles, guidelines, tools and mechanisms for civil participation in the political decision-making process. The intent is that the Code of Good Practice will be implemented at local, regional and national level. The Code of Good Practice is based on actual experiences from NGOs across Europe sharing their good practices and valid methods for engaging with public authorities.
An additional objective for the Code of Good Practice is to be a relevant and effective tool for
NGOs from local to international level in their dialogue with parliament, government and public authorities. It aims to be an interactive instrument and to be action-oriented so that it is useful for NGOs as well as public authorities across Europe. As a way of supporting the application of this Code of Good Practice, there will also be a bank of case studies and an additional set of practical tools.
The Code of Good Practice is aimed at national NGOs including regional and local organisations in Council of Europe member States and Belarus, as well as organisations at European and international level.
It also targets public authorities, which includes parliament, government and public administration at local, regional and national level. The target is wide, but it is intended that there are segments of the Code of Good Practice that can be used at all levels of public administration.
Read the full text here: http://www.coe.int/t/ngo/Source/Code_English_final.pdf