Citizen Empowerment - a two way street.

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A report on Citizen Empowerment is being launched by the People's Conversation as a follow up to the Citizens Rising Report of three years ago. This report is in three parts, including one by PeopleTalk Director, Edmond Grace. Along with his co-authors he will be introducing the report at the Wheel Annual Summit in Croke Park on  Friday week, 25 March - . This is  significant moment in the emergence of PeopleTalk. Up to this point we have been working primarily with politicians and public servants and a small number of civil society groups. The basic message which Edmond will be delivering on Friday week is that citizen empowerment is a two way street and, up to now, the emphasis has been exclusively on one way - the participation of citizens in public decision making. No acknowledgement is made of fact that participation is participation with... Unless public servants are allowed to move away from the traditional 'instructions' model in their dealings with citizens, they are not free to respond in a open manner to the proposals being made by citizens. This is particularly true of public servants working at ground level. Dedicated hardworking experienced people with useful insight into their work should be treated as a resource in the development of policy, instead of being simply told what to do. In this way they could interact with their fellow citizens in a manner which could be seen as thoughtful and thought provoking.