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  Home >> Guiding principles 

Ten guiding principles for consensus building:
1. a participant must have a valid reason for participating
2. the process must include every stakeholder that is affected
3. all participation must be voluntary
4. participants to design / decide the parameters - the what, who, why, how, when and where
5. the process to maintain flexibility - to deal with possible changes
6. all participants must have equal access to information and opportunity to participate
7. participants must a respect for diverse interests
8. participants to be accountable to their fellow participants, the process, the public and their own constituents
9. time limits for taking decisions must be set - these can be both firm and flexible
10. decision must be capable of implementation - so include those who will be responsible for implementation
A post-agreement mechanism should also be established to monitor the implementation and deal with any future problems.
Read the interesting details in  

Designing for Civil Society: technology, engagement, governance:

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Blogging eGovernment - from Enterprise Architecture to eDemocracy
A blog by John Gøtze, who is a consultant and professor working in the areas of e-government, enterprise architecture, standardization, openization, governance, digital leadership, strategic planning, and communities of practice.

Canada 25 Civic Engagement Blog
Canada25 is an organization dedicated to providing a space for young Canadians 18-35 to discuss policy issues affecting our country in a non partisan environment.

Civic Values
An American blog that focuses on building a politics of community around the ideals set forth in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution.

Designing for Civil Society: David Wilcox on technology, engagement, governance
David Wilcox has worked as a consultant, writer and trainer, specialising in community engagement and cross sector partnerships. - Democracies Online
Democracies Online, the blog/newswire, the wiki, and interactive groups are a public service hosted by Steven Clift. They are designed to share information about e-democracy on the global basis as well as connect information-age democracy builders for kno

Local e-Democracy National Project Blog
This blog is part of the local e-Democracy National Project, one of 22 local e-Government National Projects initiated by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to help deliver the national strategy for local e-government.

Otherwise Engaged
Operated by Alexandra Samuel who is a researcher and writer specializing in online dialogue and electronic democracy. She helps governments, NGOs and businesses use the Internet to engage citizens, members and employees in discussion and decision-making.

Partnerships Online
A blog focussed on how to make collaborations work through facilitation in workshops and online, with various digital technologies.

Peter Levin's Blog
Peter Levine is Deputy Director of CIRCLE, The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.

Who should take the lead in organizing and convening dialogs?

In many professional circles there is an ongoing debate about the role and ability of government to convene effective collaborative processes. Many people argue that government cannot successfully organize and convene such efforts given its built-in institutional resistance and lack of responsiveness. Citizens, by contrast, often can provide more effective forums through organic, grassroots initiatives.
Recent studies indicate that participation by one or more levels of government is essential to the effectiveness of the more ad hoc, citizen-driven processes (Kenney 2000; Susskind et al. 1999; Susskind et al. 2000). Governments not only provide financial and technical assistance, but also become critically important if the intent of an initiative is to shape or influence policy. Official government institutions, after all, constitute the formal public decision-making processes in our society.

Neither top-down nor bottom-up approaches are inherently superior, and in the final analysis the two ends of the spectrum need to come together to facilitate positive change. Whether a regional initiative is catalyzed and convened by citizens, nongovernmental organizations, businesses, or public officials, it is most effective when the people initiating the process exercise collaborative leadership. Such leaders facilitate development of a shared vision by crossing jurisdictional and cultural boundaries; forging coalitions among people with diverse interests and viewpoints; mobilizing the people, ideas, and resources needed to move in the desired direction; and sustaining networks of relationships. In this respect, regional collaboration is more like organizing a political campaign than preparing a regional plan.

Imp to list the problems & the info needed 

If there is a problem, we need to know what are the BMC rules and procedures regarding it.
If the rules / procedures are not ok, we need to work at improving them.
If there are no rules / procedures for that problem, we need to work at creating them.
So I think the first step that we need to do is to ensure that all rules / procedures are publicly known e.g. by being displayed on the Karmayog website. (Actually, they should be displayed on the BMC website.)
My impression is that within BMC also, all the rules / procedures / statistics / reports for a particular department are not available as a ready compilation. So we need to ask for rules pertaining to specific topics.
So my request to you'll is to state the problem(s) you face or see, and state that along with what is the info you seek. Sometimes by stating the problem, it is not so obvious (to me) what is the info that is needed.
If you know that there are some specific rules, court orders, committee reports, etc. that exist, please let me know so that I can try to obtain those from BMC.
I think that as we all get to know the contents of these, we can go to the next step i.e. to discuss whether some of these need to be modified or whether new ones should be made by BMC.
Then the dialog amongst ourselves and with BMC would be at deeper levels.
BTW, often people say that individual NGOs or groups of NGOs or some Govt or Court appointed Committees have made reports or have some indepth studies or reports. I would request and urge people to share these or let me know whom to contact for these.
For example, Meenakshi Verma (ex-AVSAR) is working on behalf of the NGO Council currently to prepare a base document reg. Public Health. Someone or the other will mention to her that some studies have been done in the past but when she tries to find out about these, she does not get any info about the existence of such studies or reports.
We are facing a similar situation reg. education of children. So many NGOs, so many formal groups, but no one willing to give the info. Doorstep School is the only one who sent a (non-updated) Charter of Demands made in 1998. 

 Community involvement is key in improving civic services
 How to make Community Partnership work

Thoughts about how to take the BMC - NGO MOU forward.
For each civic issue / citizen concern / ngo sector:
1. Brainstorming meeting: (e.g. the ones planned at 3:30 pm daily on different issues throughout Jan)
    - to identify key concerns
    - to identify interested people & orgs from each stakeholder group & to set up a mailing list of such people
    - to identify themes and theme leaders
    - to identify leader of entire group
    - to identify person(s) who can make policy framework document
    - to identify core group members i.e. those who will give time
    - to identify all NGOs in this sector so as to create a resource directory
    - to identify applicable laws, policies, procedures
    - to identify gaps in the current laws
    - to chalk out a plan of action
    - to have a preliminary meeting with BMC -- if possible, simply because so many would have assembled together on that day.
2. Goal of the preliminary meeting with BMC: i.e. the ones at 5 pm throughout Jan
    - to introduce ourselves to one or more of the senior concerned officials   
    - to show that we have the expertise and interest to collaborate
    - to understand what are BMC's new plans for the coming year
    - to convey the areas of concerns (not in a complaint format)
    - to understand briefly their perspectives
    - to chalk out a plan of action for co-operation
3. Share info, analyse, ideate, collate data - 2-4 weeks.
    - laws, policies, procedures, statistics, addresses, etc. to be posted on karmayog website
    - lacunae in implementation, policy clauses, monitoring, be discussed via the yahoo group
    - suggestions for improvements in current policies, procedures, implementation, awareness, monitoring, and feedback be identified
    - relevant info found via search engines, NGOs, BMC, etc.
    - begin preparing a policy framework document
    - policy framework document to be on basis of ideally desired situation in the future, and then to work backwards till today about how to implement
4. Meet with BMC with the draft policy framework document
    - meeting with key officials (this meeting will be restricted to those who have participated in point 3 above)
    - para-by-para discussion on the policy framework document
    - both sides to get an understanding of the other side's views regarding policies, procedures, awareness creation, ngo capabilities, monitoring and feedback
    - points in agreement to be listed
    - to discuss how to handle points of disagreement (within NGOs or between NGOs and BMC)
    - decide course of action to prepare final policy framework document
5. Submit final draft policy framework document - 2 weeks
    - discuss amongst ourselves via email, phone, meetings
    - prepare and submit the final document to BMC
    - form a core group
6. Finalise a common policy framework document - 2 weeks
    - have meetings of very small core group with small core group of BMC to finalise the policy framework document
    - to minute the final policy framework document
    - implementation, new rules, etc. expected to flow in due course on the basis of this document
    - the document is not expected to be a rigid document but to be modified based on feedback, learnings, etc.
a. If we can't get a good leader or core group, then we may not be able to do much with the policy document or even make one.
b. At some point, a core group may have to pay yearly fees to cover admin costs of group, as e.g. the Cleanliness Group has done.
c. A BMC - NGO Committee to be formally instituted at some stage
d. For procedural and meeting protocol, let's follow Liza's fine note at
e. If someone can prepare a draft policy framework document, we will use that right from the beginning, else we will have to follow the 'revolutionary' strategy instead of the 'reform' strategy.
f. Liza will attend all the meetings in Feb so do give her your feedback about the meeting, the procedure, etc.
g. My impression is that there are no overall policy documents for any specific civic issue in Mumbai -- with BMC or with NGOs or other orgs. If you know of any, please be good enough to give me the details.
h. I knows it sounds idealistic. Let's give it a shot. Do see the Policy Framework documents for Cleanliness and for Stray Dogs in to get an idea of what I mean. The one for cleanliness was put up for discussion and most of it was approved as can be seen in the minutes. The one for stray dogs is at point 4 above.
i. The proposed Flow Chart in NGO Council section (direct URL is may convey some idea of the overall structure.
Goals / Objectives & Purpose:
a. to form an easily accessible resource group of all individuals and organisations in Mumbai interested or involved with a particular civic cause so as to be available to give meaningful input quickly when new policies or procedures are being planned by BMC.
b. to form a core group of those willing to commit time to work on these issues
c. every citizen to know what is the BMC policy regarding a civic issue incl. rules, notifications, procedures, contacts, etc.
d. the idea is to work in a collaborative way. Other forums and methods exist to work in other ways which, indeed, are also needed in a democracy.
e. etc. etc.
See you at the meetings.
Please share your documents and thoughts.
Please volunteer to attend every meeting, minute the discussions, and act as a general co-ordinator.
If you are seriously interested in any of the issues, please contact me, as I am obviously way beyond my depth now.

The BMC partnership with the NGO Council is not meant to take up individual cases for redressal. However individual cases can be taken up for study to understand and suggest systemic improvements in terms of FAQs, a Citizens' Charter, improvement of OCMS, procedures and processes in BMC, etc. So do send us copies of your complaint letters to BMC.

MCGM also has a Citizens' Charter gathering dust somewhere which can perhaps be taken up by the NGO Council for review and improvement. Any volunteers?

Reg. "why can BMC not enforce even after they decide?" Do contact Shailesh Gandhi, Kewal Semlani, Leo Rebello, and others on the Karmayog Group who have filed PILs and / or are experts on RTI. They also hold periodic workshops. Mr. Jani, a lawyer, has offered his services free every Saturday at the Karmayog office.

We shall put up the entire BMC Act online this week.



Performance measurement for government - result-based reporting and management tools for government, at: 
The National Civic League:  The National Civic League (NCL) is America's original advocate for community democracy. It is a non-profit, non-partisan, membership organization dedicated to strengthening citizen democracy by transforming democratic institutions. NCL fosters innovative community building and political reform, assists local governments, and recognizes collaborative community achievement. NCL accomplishes its mission through technical assistance, training, publishing, research, 
and the All-America City Awards, America's original and most prestigious community recognition program. 
NCL brings together all sectors of our society - public, private, and nonprofit - to address our common needs and build a thriving democracy. NCL envisions a country where citizens are actively engaged in self-governance and works to create an active civic culture reflective of the diversity of community voices. Understanding and supporting effective local government is a significant part of NCL's overall commitment to the goal of reinvigorating citizen democracy. 

Various local e-democracy projects worldwide: 


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