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Engagement and participation

A big part of today’s policy-making is done by citizens and non-governmental organisations. Good policy-making includes the voice of citizen, non-governmental partner and expert, and it engages the cooperation of various governmental authorities.

The participation of various parties in the decision-making process gives the opportunity to find out who is being influenced by a particular decision and how.

It enables making informed, better targeted and more efficient decisions, prevent problems in implementation and acknowledge alternatives.

Come and have your say!

Photo: Government Office of Estonia

What does engagement mean?

By engagement, we refer to making decisions with whom these decisions influence, and take them into consideration.

Informing and engaging different parties enables the interest groups and the public to receive balanced information, which makes it possible to understand the aims and solving potential of the decision-making, and give legitimacy to the decision. Giving different parties a chance to voice their opinion in expressing problems, providing solutions and weighing out options, gives way to a better understanding of society’s expectations and the impact of the decisions.

Engagement increases the openness of policy-making, transparency of decision-making and hopefully people’s trust in their country.


Impact assessment

Impact assessment is a process in which evidence is collected on the pros and cons of alternative policies and by which their possible consequences are assessed. However, rather than being a substitute for political decisions, impact assessment is a supporting measure.

Impact assessment supports the quality and transparency of the Government’s decisions and creates better conditions for these decisions to have desirable impact on the organisation of society.

The good practice of engagement
Establishing a good practice in democratic engagement requires an agreement between the parties of society. The good practice of engagement is a collection of recommendations to all state authorities and especially to those who prepare drafts for the Government’s decisions. Local governments are also welcomed to follow the good practice of engagement in decision-making.



The Government Office also coordinates the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Estonia. The OGP is an international initiative to promote good governance throughout the world. Open governance means exercising power in an honest and transparent way and in dialogue with citizens.

Countries that have joined the OGP have the responsibility to follow the principles of open governance, and in cooperation with the civil society they develop a definite plan of action, for the compiling and implementation of which there exists both domestic and international monitoring within the framework of the OGP.

The main goal in participating in the OGP is to draw the attention of the Government and also the entire society to the quality of governance, learn from the experience of other countries, and share experience with other partnership countries.




How does the deciding process work?

  • The deciding process of both the Government and the Riigikogu is open and electronic from initiation to publication in Riigi Teataja (includes the full texts of all laws).
  • The good practice of engagement prescribes that prior to concluding a decision, the governmental authority submits a draft act development initiative, the development plan formulation motion or some other question with an important impact into the e-Consultation System for public consultation, but, if necessary, also addresses the interest groups directly in order to collect suggestions and to hear opinions.
  • The e-Consultation System makes the Government’s legislative activity open for view. The e-Consultation System enables public access to drafts and to their proceedings, and also to voice opinions.
  • Feedback on drafts that are being prepared can be given via the internet in the public consultation and coordination stage.
  • If the participantshave any questions about the particular issue that opinions are being asked for, they should turn to the official who is responsible for the preparation of the particular decision.
  • Furthermore, every ministry has an engagement coordinator who responds to any general questions about the management of the engagement process in the ministry, or if it is not clear which official is responsible for the preparation of the draft.



Public consultation

If the public consultation is open in the e-Consultation System or participation web, the governmental authorities will inform interest groups about the following:

  • the explanation of the necessity of the draft decision;
  • the interest groups engaged;
  • the issues on which the interest groups’ opinions are expected;
  • the description of the subsequent course of the engagement and of the proceedings of the draft.



Where can you find the information and where can you get engaged?

  • Participation web

    If you have an idea or a suggestion that you want to send to the Government, then do it on the participation web at Here you can submit ideas and suggestions to the Government and collect signatures in support of your idea. The Government will also respond to all submitted ideas.

  • Government’s action plan and ministries’ work plans

    If you want to know what the election pledges and goals of the Government are, the information about the Government’s most important decisions being prepared can be found from the Government’s action plan, the overview of the ministries’ legislative initiatives, and the work plans of the ministries.


  • E-Consultation System

    If you want to get engaged and keep yourself posted with the decisions that are being prepared by the Government, you can find this information and resources from the e-Consultation System. It is an open-for-all e-environment for inter-ministerial coordination of documents, submission of documentation to the Government and the Riigikogu, as well as for public consultation.

    Through the e-Consultation System, everyone has the opportunity to observe the proceedings of the draft, voice opinion about the draft that is under public consultation or being coordinated and order notifications to e-mail about the draft.

    E-Consultation System »


    If you want to submit a collective plea (or initiative) to the Riigikogu, you can do so at It is a place to hold discussions and a platform to compile suggestions that enable everyone to propose how to improve the life of society or amend a law. »

  • Other channels

    All ministries have developed their own measures on how to engage parties and receive information about the engagement opportunities offered by a particular ministry from their website. For some topic under discussion, a separate blog has been created and also social media is used.





Ivar Hendla

Strategy Unit´s Adviser


 Phone: +372 693 5627



Last updated: 21 December 2018