Rulemaking 2.0: Understanding and Getting Better Public Participation

New Report from Cynthia Farina and Mary Newhart for the The IBM Center for The Business of Government: “This report provides important insights in how governments can improve the rulemaking process by taking full advantage of Rulemaking 2.0 technology. The report’s findings and recommendations are based on five experiments with Rulemaking 2.0 conducted by CeRI researchers, four in partnership with the Department of Transportation and one with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.While geared specifically to achieving better public participation in rulemaking, the concepts, findings, and recommendations contained in the report are applicable to all government agencies interested in enhancing public participation in a variety of processes. The report offers advice on how government organizations can increase both the quantity and quality of public participation from specific groups of citizens, including missing stakeholders, unaffiliated experts, and the general public.The report describes three barriers to effective participation in rulemaking: lack of awareness, low participation literacy, and information overload. While the report focuses on rulemaking, these barriers also hinder public participation in other arenas.The report offers three strategies to overcome such barriers:

  • Outreach to alert and engage potential new participants
  • Converting newcomers into effective commenters
  • Making substantive rulemaking information accessible”