Estonian Code of Good Practices on Involvement for public
institutions was completed in 2005, based on EKAK. This is not a binding document, however, public officials are recommended to follow the principles of the Code. It is also supported by different trainings and learning materials.
The objective of engagement
The objective of engagement is to raise
the quality and social legitimacy of resolutions and to increase the
participation of the non-profit, private, and public sectors in preparing and
making decisions. Administrative agencies, non-profit organizations, or
representational organizations that create documents should involve interest
groups from all sectors in the decision-making process. This ensures that the
strategic documents being drawn up will be balanced and based on the public
The decisions made for engaging the public must be open,
transparent, and flexible. The objective of The Good Engagement Practices is to
harmonize the principles, from which the public sector institutions and
non-profit organizations can proceed in involving the public and interest
groups in decision-making.
The Good Engagement Practices are a partnership and cooperation
document, which includes eight recommended principles, which place great
importance on the clarity of goals, openness of relationships, and dedication
to goals. The Good Engagement Practices are a basis for non-profit
organizations and government institutions to work out more specific engagement
directives for themselves and to find answers to questions that arise in the
practice of engagement.
Areas of Application
The Good Engagement Practices will be applied by administrative
agencies in the preparation of at least the following documents (hereafter,
Definitions of terms appearing
in The Good Engagement Practices
- Drafts of laws and their
- Drafts of the regulations and
directives of the Government of the Republic;
- Drafts of Ministers’ decrees;
- Documents, concepts, policies,
development plans, and programs that are important to the country’s
- Drafts of legislation of
European Union institutions and other strategic documents (i.e. green and
- Instruction and procedures for
rendering public service;
- Conventions and international
agreements, as well as the documents that are worked out within their
framework, and that influence the society.
1) Activity of an organization, the goal of
which is to better implement and activate its membership, target group, or its
rear for executing and making decisions about its objectives;
of a public authority, the goal of which is to provide citizens, and
organizations representing them, the opportunity to participate in making
decisions influencing them.
Interest groups – also pressure groups, are organizations
created for the promotion of the common interests (either private or public) of
its members, umbrella organizations, movements, or networks that try to
pressure public authorities in order to influence decisions affecting them.
Engagement plan – description of the process to engage
interest groups in the drawing up of drafts for specific strategic documents,
in which the objective, activities, supervisors, and deadlines of the
engagement are indicated.
coordinator – official
assigned by the public authority agency who administers the entire engagement
Engaged parties – interest groups, representatives of
agencies/organizations, the public, etc. who participate in the engagement and
when information is provided on the planned resolutions and/or legislation and
the drafts of strategic documents are made available;
when concerned interests groups and public representatives are asked for their
opinions and proposals;
which is the opportunity to participate in the development of a draft for a strategic
document as part of a working group upon the invitation of the initiator.
Partnership is the continued
cooperation of two or more organizations or agencies, in which the objective is
to ensure mutual engagement in the preparation of strategic documents and other
document – see Application Areas.
Good Engagement Practices
CLARITY OF THE GOALS OF
1 We will briefly
and clearly state the initial assignment, expected result, and projected effect
of the consultations and resolutions.
1.1 The initial
assignment of the engagement will be explained simply and comprehensible,
avoiding unnecessarily technical and legal terminology.
1.2 The initial
assignment will clearly express the expectations regarding the engaged parties
and the feedback from them.
1.3 The initial
assignment will include an analysis of the alternative solutions for achieving
the result of the engagement, based on the principal activities of the engaged
parties, legislation and other related fields.
1.4 The initiator of the
preparation of the draft strategic document will prepare an analysis of the
influences. The form and volume of the analysis will depend on the strategic
document being consulted on.
2 We will determine the parties with whom to
consult in the given field and take their wishes, needs, and distinctive
features into consideration.
agency/organization initiating the engagement will organize the registration of
interest groups, in order to guarantee that all the affected parties are
informed of the beginning of the preparation of and/or consultation on
strategic documents. Being an engaged party does not presume the possession of
a commercial, or any other, register code.
2.2 When determining the
parties to be engaged, the registered interest groups will be taken into
consideration, and using various sources, possible additional interest groups,
and parties to be affected by the resolution, will be ascertained. Their
representatives and expertise will be determined. On this basis, a list of
engaged parties will develop. Based on the initial assignment, the parties to
be engaged will be chosen – the wider public, interest groups, affected
parties, etc. The rights of the engaged parties and restrictions on responsibilities
and processes (i.e. resulting from European Union legislation or other
circumstances) need to be defined and clarified.
ENGAGEMENT AT THE
3 For consultations and
participation, we will involve the parties in the preparation of the draft as
early as possible and will continue the engagement throughout the entire course
of the process.
3.1 Consultation and
participation will be started at as early as possible in the preparation of the
draft. This could be preceded by informing and consulting on an informal basis.
This will provide the parties with an idea of the problems related to the
3.2 The participation of
the engaged parties in the activities of the working group preparing the draft
of the strategic document will be decided by the initiator of the draft
preparation, taking into account specific needs and opportunity.
3.3 To initiate the
consultations, the background of the draft will be clarified by feedback
received from subsequent activities and by the draft of the resolution being
3.4 The consultations
generally last for a minimum of four weeks.
3.5 Exceptions when
consultations may be shortened (i.e. due to obligations resulting from European
Union legislation or international agreements) will be determined.
3.6 The length of the
consultations may be shortened if consultations have already been held in
connection with the draft of the same resolution and/or if, during the final
period of the preparation of the material being consulted on, positions on only
a few amendments are called for.
3.7 The length of the
consultations must be extended in the case of very voluminous and substantial
drafts, as well as in connection with state holidays and vacations.
DETAILED PLAN FOR
4 We will design
an engagement plan that is as detailed as possible.
4.1 The preparation of
an engagement plan is recommended. The level of detail is dependent upon the
volume of the draft of the strategic document. When designing the engagement
plan and its stages, the participants and stages are defined – the coordinating
agency/organization and the coordinator, including the beginning of the
consultations, length, final deadline, form of engagement (informing,
consulting, participation), methods (written, web-based, seminar, working group,
public hearing, forum, etc.), information channels, and the assessment of the
interim summary and final results.
4.2 The chosen form of
engagement corresponds with the content of the draft resolution, potential
effect of the resolution, needs, opportunities, and other conditions of the
parties being engaged.
4.3 The initiator of the
draft determines the leading coordinator for the engagement, whose contact
information will be made public at the beginning of the preparation of the
draft of the strategic document.
4.4 If necessary, the
coordinator will advise the engaged parties, analyse the course of the
consultations, and summarize the same.
5 We will ensure that
the public, interest groups, and those possibly affected by the strategic
document will be informed.
5.1 The field of
activity being consulted on and the related information will be made public.
Whereas the opportunity for the parties to access the information will be taken
into consideration. From the beginning of the engagement, the documentation
related to engagement, or references to it, will be made public through
electronic information channels, and if necessary, through alternative
information channels (libraries, non-profit organizations, local governments,
information points, etc.). The public will also be informed through mass media.
5.2 References to
documentation related to the engagement will be simple to find and access on
the Internet. Preferably, the documentation will be available through the
Internet on the website of the agency/organization that has initiated the
preparation of the draft of the strategic document.
5.3 In the case of draft
resolutions affecting the foreign-language-speaking population, the need and
possibilities for disclosing the information related to the engagement in other
languages will also be weighed. Translation from the state language into
foreign languages and vice versa is recommended in the case of drafts of
significant strategic documents (e.g. EU legislation).
INTERIM SUMMARY OF
THE COURSE OF THE ENGAGEMENT
6 If necessary, we
will compile an interim summary of the course of the engagement, will correct
the particulars of the process, and inform the parties of the interim summary.
6.1 The objective
of making an interim summary and analysing feedback is to track whether the
process is proceeding smoothly and according to plan. The interim summary is
necessary to inform the management of the agency/organization and engaged
parties of the course of the engagement and/or to analyse feedback received by
the coordinating unit.
6.2 The interim
summary may be in the form of a verbal presentation, brief written report,
written analysis, recorded decision, or alternative mapping.
compilation of the interim summary and the securing of its availability are
fixed in the engagement plan or are agreed upon by the parties during the
course of the work process. The interim summary is generally also made
available to the engaged parties.
6.4 Based on the
interim summary, it is decided if supplemental forms or methods of engagement
need to implemented, if experts need to be called, or the circle of parties
need to be expanded.
6.5 Feedback on
the interim summary will be provided to the engaged parties on an equal basis.
If important decisions have been made regarding the subsequent development of
the strategic document in the interim summary, all the parties will be
7 We will inform
the engaged parties of the results of the engagement.
7.1 All the parties will
receive a summary answer from the initiator of the engagement, which will
include all the proposals that have been presented, both those that have been
accepted as well as those that have been rejected. The rejection of proposals
will be explained.
7.2 The summary answer
will be forwarded to the engaged parties no later than 30 days after the end of
7.3 The summary answer
will be made available both on paper, as well as on the Internet, as a complete
text and/or as references to a complete text. If necessary, the summary answer
will be made public through the mass media.
ASSESSMENT OF THE
ENGAGEMENT AND RESULTS
8 We will assess the engagement and the
applicability of its results.
8.1 The engagement and
its results will be assessed by the initiator of the engagement and the engaged
parties. The initiators of the engagement will ask for feedback from the
engaged parties for the assessment of the process and the results.
8.2 In the case of the
process, the following will be analysed: the performance of the initial
assignment of the engagement; the productivity of the forms and methods of
engagement that were used; the motivation of the parties to participate; the
efficiency of the administrative work; the efficiency of the feedback; the satisfaction
of the target group with the engagement, etc.
8.3 In the case of the
results, the following will be analyzed: the correspondence of the results to
the initial assignment; whether alternatives were considered; the applicability
of the results to the subsequent development of the topic being consulted on;
8.4 The results of the
assessment will be considered in the planning and implementation of the next
Government Information Adviser
Government Communication Office
State Chancellery of the Republic of Estonia
Ph: 00372 6935744