The Ministry of Social Affairs succeeded in involving associations in their policy-making process, a new Praxis report finds. The report, developed in conjunction with NENO finds that the children and family policy developed by the Ministry was formulated through extensive consultation with interest groups, a practice heretofore rarely used in Estonian policymaking.
The report, an executive summary of which can be found here, notes that although a lack of cooperation between ministries (such as disagreements with the Ministry of Finance) hindered the process of formulating the development plan, close cooperation with interest groups and high levels of motivation led to satisfying results. This is evidenced by, among other things, the suggestion that the Parent Education Roundtable – the advisory body called together for formulating the development plan – become a permanent advisor to the ministry.
Praxis recommended that the ministry be more open to the idea of creating widespread social debate through media discussions, interviews, debates and so forth. Other suggestions included suggesting better communication and more widespread consultation with interests groups, as some associations felt confused or left out of the loop during the negotiations processes.
The analyses were commissioned as part of a joint project between NENO and Praxis, for the purpose of increasing the capacity of NGO advocacy organization for participating in the policymaking process. The project was funded by the European Social Fund. An overview of the project’s activities (in Estonian) can be found here: www.ngo.ee/tof