Exploring the potential and limits of digital tools for inclusive regulatory engagement with citizens

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Abstract

Over the past decade, independent regulatory agencies like competition authorities, water and energy regulators have increasingly turned to citizen engagement, including via digital channels. In this study, we seek to shed light on the potential and limits of economic regulators’ digital engagement with citizens, compared to traditional, non-digital equivalents. More specifically, we analyse the costs and benefits of four prominent (digital) engagement tools in relation to inclusion, focusing on three key challenges for inclusive citizen engagement: (i) access, (ii) accessible information, and (iii) support in making contributions. Furthermore, we assess the technical, social, and organisational conditions under which the use of the tools can be more inclusive. We conclude that ‘turning digital’ has important advantages for inclusive regulatory engagement but is no panacea. Yet, whilst some challenges cannot be unilaterally tackled by regulators, there is considerable room for these organisations to raise the inclusiveness of their engagement, both by combining tools and modes of engagement, and by expanding their toolbox.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101901
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalGOVERNMENT INFORMATION QUARTERLY
Volume41
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Keywords

  • inclusion
  • Digital
  • citizen engagement;
  • Economic Regulation
  • Ofcom
  • Ofwat
  • Ofgem

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