17 November 2020

OED x OECD: Government After Shock – Connection Lost? Managing the Relationship Between Policymakers and Citizens in Times of Crisis and Beyond

This collaboration was organized together with the OECD. OED Collaborations activate external partnerships to deliver its members with tailored events designed around a variety of themes, audiences and objectives. To know more about collaborations click here.

On 17 November at 17:00-19:00 CET, the Open European Dialogue network members met for an exclusive OED Policy Deep-Dive to discuss the implications of Covid-19 on the connection between citizens and their elected representatives.

In this 120-minute Zoom dialogue, parliamentarians explored the following questions:

  • How has social distancing challenged the connection between politicians and their constituents?
  • How has the health and economic crisis affected public trust in decision-makers?
  • Are lockdown protests a symptom of a more general dealignment of citizens’ needs with government action?
  • How can elected representatives reassure citizens during unnerving times?
  • What tools and what communication strategies could assist policymakers in reimagining their relationship with citizens both in times of crisis and beyond?

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken our understanding of the world and how things should work. The aftershocks of it will undoubtedly ripple through all domains, whether personal, economic, social, or political. While no one knows how things will unfold, 2020 may mark a fundamental shift in how policymakers and governments connect with the citizens they represent. How can we rethink and rebuild connections between voters and elected representatives after the shock subsides?

In this conversation, we heard from Donatella della Porta, professor of political science and political sociology at the Scuola Normale Superiore, Nigel Harvey, professor of judgment and decision research at University College London, and Coen Pustjens, program director and Covid-19 response tools coordinator at the National Democratic Institute.

Open European Dialogue x Government After Shock

This inter-parliamentary exchange was a part of Government After Shock, a global event promoted by the OECD’s Observatory of Public Sector Innovation that explores the future of government beyond crisis. This global dialogue took place on 17 November and comprehended over 50 conversations held all around the world, covering an array of regional and thematic angles. A high-level forum was held on the following day, 18 November, seeking to make sense of the input received from the global dialogue’s participants to formulate a ‘Call to Action’ for governments to think about the future of government beyond this crisis.

The Observatory for Public Sector Innovation

The Observatory for Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) is the OECD’s global forum for uncovering emerging practices and identify what’s next in the public sector realm. In a time of increasing complexity, rapidly changing demands and considerable fiscal pressures, governments need to understand, test and embed new ways of doing things.

OPSI works with governments to understand and encourage new approaches to address society’s complex problems by empowering public servants with new insights, knowledge, tools and connections to help them explore new possibilities.

About the format: OED120 POLICY DEEP-DIVES

As a response to the current crisis, the Open European Dialogue launched its new OED 120 Policy Deep-Dive format. 120 minutes for facilitated online dialogue among members of parliament to receive a concise briefing, ask questions to experts and discuss, with colleagues, narrowly defined topics. The OED provides professional facilitation to extract the most value out of the discussions. This way, policymakers get the chance to share their perspectives with their colleagues, while having topic expertise on hand for questions and clarifications. Topics are chosen as they emerge through other network activities as ripe for a more in-depth discussion, or they are suggested by members of the network, or flagged by the network of OED researchers and experts. MP network members can initiate these calls and volunteer their expertise on a topic of their choosing.

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Highlights from the call
24 November 2020
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OED x OECD – Policymaking in the Dark: Political Pitfalls and Opportunities of the Pandemic
In its latest collaboration, the Open European Dialogue (OED) offered its members an opportunity to be part of the OECD Observatory for Public Sector Innovation’s (OPSI) global dialogue on “Government after Shock”, aiming to make sense of the current crisis and formulating strategies of handling future shocks better.
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