Participation in Decision-Making and Law-Making

Examples of Good Practices

  • Law of the Republic of Tajikistan on Public Associations (2007)

    Article 24. Rights of a public association

    1. For the implementation of its statutory goals, a public association, which has a status of a legal entity, shall have the following rights:

       - freely disseminate information on its activity;
       - participate in the drafting of decisions by government and regulatory authorities in the manner and within the scope established by this Law and other laws;
       - hold meetings, rallies, demonstrations, processions and other public events in compliance with the procedure established by the legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan;
       - establish mass media and undertake publishing activities in compliance with the legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan;
       - represent and protect its rights and legal interests of its members and participants or other citizens before government and regulatory authorities and public associations;
       - fully exercise their mandates as established by the laws on certain types of public associations;
       - put forward initiatives on various aspects of community life and submit proposals to government and regulatory authorities;
       - obtain information from government and regulatory authorities as may be necessary for the implementation of statutory goals, except for the cases established by the legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan; (...)
       - for the purpose of implementation of their statutory activity, participate in national and international tenders for government contracts to implement social projects, grants, stipends and other preferences not prohibited by the legislation;
       - for the purpose of implementation of their statutory activity, enter into agreements with natural persons or legal entities for scientific, economic, financial and industrial cooperation, provision of services and performance of works;
       - in compliance with the legislation, carry out scientific projects, research and development, public assessments of projects and programs important for the society and participate in joint review boards for such projects and programs, provided that such activity is anticipated in their charters;

  • Law on Public Benefit Activity and Volunteerism (2003) [Poland]

    This law designates certain activities, including provision of social care, public health and education, as public benefit activities, and makes the contracting of non-governmental organisations to perform these services mandatory.  The law establishes a procedure for contracting non-profit providers of such activities Contractors are selected through open bidding which has to be duly advertised at least 30 days prior to the bidding date.

  • The Scottish Compact


    Underlying principles for working together

    Aim of the Compact:

    The Compact is an agreement between the Scottish Executive, its Agencies and Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs) (referred to collectively as the 'Executive' throughout this document) and the voluntary sector on the principles of working in partnership. It is based on a mutual understanding of the distinctive values and roles of the Executive and the voluntary sector. Its aim is to develop robust relationships for the wider public good.
    The Compact acknowledges that the voluntary sector and the Executive have their own spheres of action with different roles, responsibilities and resources. It is accepted that not all voluntary organisations will have an interest in seeking partnership with the Executive. Some will prefer to pursue their own objectives without reference to the state. Others may find themselves more often in opposition to the Executive than in partnership. But for the growing number of cases where partnership is sought by both the Executive and the voluntary sector, the Compact describes agreed principles for working together effectively.
    Implementation of the Compact is a key role for intermediary voluntary organisations, whose purpose is to represent and support other voluntary organisations in a particular area or field of activity. Intermediaries include some bodies with a national remit, local councils for voluntary service, specialist 'umbrella' organisations, and many forums and alliances.

    Remit of the Compact:

    The Scottish Compact is one of four Compacts providing a framework for national Government/voluntary sector relationships across the UK. Although the Scottish Compact applies specifically to Scotland, it is expected that relationships between UK voluntary organisations and the Scottish Executive, and between Scottish voluntary organisations and the wider UK government, will also embrace Compact principles.
    The Scottish Compact sets out the high level principles that we are seeking to achieve in our relationship between the Executive and the voluntary sector. This latest version of the Compact has been updated to reflect renewed commitment to achieving an open and participative working relationship between the Executive and the voluntary sector in Scotland. The Compact commitments have also been strengthened for all parties to demonstrate the current climate since devolution. The Scottish Compact Good Practice Guides, set out the detail on how we can work together to develop our relationships. These, and other relevant publications, can be accessed at both the SCVO and the Scottish Executive Voluntary Issues Unit, and can be accessed through their relevant websites ( and ).
    The formal Compact documentation is supported by the work of the Scottish Executive/Voluntary Sector Forum and the Scottish Compact Implementation Strategy (2003). The Scottish Compact Implementation Strategy reflects the following key themes: strategic aims and vision; leadership; mainstreaming; raising awareness and promoting best practice; communication; and resources. Monitoring and evaluation issues are also covered.

    The Scottish Parliament:

    The Scottish Executive cannot make commitments on behalf of the Scottish Parliament but it is hoped that they will endorse this updated Compact or draw on the work done to develop their own agreement.

    Benefits of the Compact:

    The Compact will deliver benefits by:

    • strengthening the relationship between the Executive and the voluntary sector;
    • extending opportunities for the voluntary sector's members, supporters and users to contribute their experience and ideas to the development and implementation of public policy;
    • making the policies and practice developed by the Scottish Executive, its Agencies and NDPBs, including NHS Boards, more responsive to the potential and needs of the voluntary sector;
    • enabling voluntary organisations to communicate more effectively to the Executive, the needs of their users and wider constituencies;
    • extending the opportunities to mobilise the voluntary sector behind Executive programmes when these coincide with the objectives of voluntary organisations;
    • increasing understanding of how the Executive and the voluntary sector work;
    • generating evidence and information on the value and impact of the work of the Executive and of the voluntary sector; and
    • informing longer-term planning and strategic thinking.

    Shared Values:

    The Executive and the voluntary sector in Scotland share a commitment to basic values including:

    • A democratic society that acknowledges the value of voluntary sector activity and upholds the right of individuals to associate freely with one another in pursuit of a common purpose within the law.
    • Active citizenship involving the widest possible participation by people in the lives of their national and local communities.
    • Pluralism, which welcomes the diversity of identities and interests within Scotland, including minority groups such as ethnic minorities and disabled people, and upholds the right of each interest to speak on its own behalf.
    • Human rights to promote us in a sense of strong community and to encourage respect for each other as both individuals and as members of a community with common values.Equality of opportunity, which maximises the opportunities for all people to contribute from their distinctive traditions, religions, cultures, values and abilities to the shared life of the wider community, as well as their own particular communities of need and interest. This includes opposing all forms of discrimination and promoting participation and inclusion. Equality of opportunity also encompasses the principle of fair access to the shared life of the wider community and to the public services provided.
    • Quality services, which provide the highest achievable standards.
    • Cross-sectoral working to promote effective cross-sectoral and cross-agency collaboration to respond to the complex needs of society, which often cannot be compartmentalised.
    • Sustainable development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

    Scottish Executive: Commitments on Recognition

    In working with voluntary organisations, volunteers and community development groups, the Executive will:

        * acknowledge the value of the contribution which the voluntary sector makes to the social, economic, environmental and cultural life of Scotland;
        * recognise and support the sector's independence, including its right to comment on and challenge Executive policy;
        * recognise volunteering as an important part
        * of citizenship and support volunteering initiatives as a means of extending people's participation in their community;
        * recognise the importance of community action as a form of active citizenship and as contributing towards economic development;
        * take positive steps to involve in the partnership, groups which face difficulties in making their voices heard; and
        * promote an understanding of the value of voluntary sector activity to all public sector bodies and stakeholders.

    Voluntary Sector: Commitments on Recognition

    In working with the Executive, the sector undertakes to:

        * acknowledge that the Executive works within a statutory framework laid down by the Scottish Parliament, to which it is accountable for its policy towards the voluntary sector;
        * acknowledge the Executive's public accountability for the resources it provides to voluntary organisations;
        * recognise that the Executive, like all other agencies, acts within constraints;
        * meet with the Executive to discuss issues of mutual interest;
        * take positive steps to involve in the partnership, groups which face difficulties in making their voices heard; and
        * promote an understanding of the value of voluntary sector activity to all public sector bodies and stakeholders.

    Scottish Executive: Commitments on Representation

    The Executive acknowledges its obligation to facilitate access for the voluntary sector to its processes. The Executive will:

        * clearly state Executive objectives and priorities;
        * ensure clear and accessible channels of communication;
        * provide access and support, including the provision of information, to enable voluntary organisations to contribute to the policy development process;
        * ensure all national infrastructure voluntary organisations are routinely informed of NDPB appointment vacancies that fall within the remit of the Commissioner for Public Appointments, including NHS bodies;
        * ensure nominations are sought through open and transparent mechanisms from voluntary sector interests as appropriate for public boards, agencies, collaborative working groups and service user groups;
        * consult as appropriate in a flexible and open way, communicate clearly using appropriate media and ensure feedback is provided to all respondees and consultees; and
        * consult fully and to a stated timetable, jointly agreed where possible.

    Voluntary Sector: Commitments on Representation

    No single body or group of bodies can represent the complete range of interests that the voluntary sector pursues with the Executive. However, where there are recognised representative lead bodies, these bodies commit themselves to:

        * ensure clear and accessible channels of communication to the sector;
        * represent accurately and honestly the views of their sectoral constituencies;
        * publicise NDPB appointment vacancies as appropriate to relevant voluntary organisations;
        * promote collaborative working between voluntary sector partners;
        * promote the development of the voluntary sector infrastructure to allow particular interests and groups to develop and communicate their views to the Executive and other interests;
        * demonstrate how they consult their members and supporters and are accountable to them;
        * contribute as appropriate to consultation and policy development exercises; and
        * consult fully and to timetables agreed with the Executive.

    Scottish Executive: Commitments on Partnership

    In encouraging good practice and co-operative methods of decision-making, the Executive undertakes to:

        * work collaboratively with the sector to develop policy and practice;
        * promote effective dialogue, using an appropriate format and the efficient use of time;
        * work with the sector on issues of concern to either party in the spirit of openness and partnership;
        * recognise the role which intermediary bodies have in representing the views of their constituents without prejudice to the right of individual organisations to represent their own views;
        * ensure that, in the process of policy-making, the impact of changes in policy and procedure on the sector and on volunteering and community groups are considered and taken fully into account (a process known as 'proofing');
        * assume that information is not confidential unless otherwise stated; and
        * be aware of the resource constraints on voluntary sector participation in partnerships.

    Voluntary Sector: Commitments on Partnership

    In working with the Executive, its Agencies, NDPBs and with other sectors, the voluntary sector undertakes to:

        * promote the value of collaborative working with the public sector in the best interest of its members, users and the wider public;
        * ensure that the full range of voluntary organisations and interests is, as far as possible, informed of, and represented in, collaborative working to develop policy and practice and to promote effective dialogue;
        * work with the Executive on issues of concern to either party in the spirit of openness and partnership;
        * ensure that representatives at partnership meetings are properly briefed and supported; and
        * respect any agreed commitments to the confidentiality of Executive information.

    Scottish Executive : Commitments on Resources

    The Executive will pursue its interest in promoting a healthy voluntary sector through public funding based on clear measures of performance. It will:

        * apply best practice in funding and in the administration of grants consistently, including prompt payment of agreed funds;
        * recognise the need for full cost recovery in bids for service contracts;
        * follow best practice in monitoring publicly funded work, and apply and promote Best Value processes in ways which secure equality of treatment for voluntary organisations;
        * support, as appropriate, intermediary bodies and the infrastructure across the sector;
        * target resources, including non-financial resources, effectively and in a way which takes account of changing needs;
        * proof documents in order that potential impact on the voluntary sector is considered routinely as part of policy development; and
        * respect the confidentiality of commercially sensitive information.

    Scottish Executive: Commitments on Implementation

    In endorsing this Compact, the Scottish Executive, with the backing of Ministers and through the leadership of the Voluntary Issues Unit and the Departments having lead roles with the voluntary sector, undertake to:

        * put in place effective and flexible arrangements to implement the Compact;
        * establish a framework to monitor and evaluate its operations jointly with the sector;
        * put in place mechanisms to facilitate cross-departmental working and the mainstreaming of Compact principles;
        * ensure that there continues to be a dedicated Unit within the Scottish Executive to promote voluntary sector interests;
        * promote the spirit and principles of the Compact throughout the Scottish Executive, its Agencies and NDPBs and to other public bodies, including local authorities and CoSLA;
        * ensure all Scottish Executive Departments, NDPBs and Agencies have responsibility for their relations with the voluntary sector and to implement, review, monitor and evaluate implementation of the Compact; and
        * report regularly on progress in implementing the Compact to the Scottish Executive/ Voluntary Sector Forum and the Scottish Parliament.

    Voluntary Sector: Commitments on Implementation

    By endorsing this Compact, the lead representative bodies of voluntary organisations, volunteering activities and community development groups undertake to:

        * publicise to the sector the principles and understandings embodied in the Compact;
        * promote and champion practices which are consistent with the Compact to voluntary organisations, volunteering activities and to community development groups;
        * promote the spirit and principles of the Compact to all public bodies, including local authorities and CoSLA;
        * ensure implementation of the Compact is a core function of national infrastructure and intermediary voluntary organisations;
        * establish a framework to monitor and evaluate its operations jointly with the Executive;
        * put in place systems to monitor the implementation and operation of the Compact throughout the voluntary sector; and
        * report regularly on progress in implementing the Compact to the Scottish Executive/ Voluntary Sector Forum and the Scottish Parliament.

  • Human Rights Defenders in the OSCE Region Challenges and Good Practices April 2007-April 2008

    Setting up standing mechanisms for dialogue with human rights defenders

    (...) In Finland, there is a regular formal forum for dialogue between the government and human rights defenders. Within the Foreign Ministry, there is an advisory board on human rights, which includes representatives of human rights NGOs. Active since 1988, the board meets regularly and provides a channel for communication between the ministry and NGOs. (...)

    Consultation with human rights defenders in the legislative process

    (...) In Serbia, representatives of NGOs participate in public discussions prior to the adoption of laws, other regulations, and political documents. In some cases, NGOs themselves draft laws that are presented to parliament by government representatives.

    Involving human rights defenders in the drafting of rules affecting them

    (...) One example is the Polish system for involving NGOs in the regulation of their own sector, whereby NGOs and other entities are consulted on draft legislation in areas relating to their activities. (...)

    Involving human rights defenders in the drafting of periodic reports to international bodies

    (...) In Serbia, for example, defenders and human rights NGOs are included by the State Agency for Human and Minority Rights in the consultation process regarding the drafting of Council of Europe reports and periodic reports to UN treaty-monitoring bodies. Defenders are included as relevant partners based on their recognized field of expertise.
    A noteworthy development in this area is the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process within the UN Human Rights Council. In some cases, countries involve NGOs in the preparation of UPR reports, which contributes to the quality and depth of the reports, and allows the government to present not only its achievements but also a self-critical and balanced report on the human rights situation in the country. (...)
    The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs [in Switzerland] consults NGOs about important international and national decisions, and the position of NGOs can be included in messages for bilateral meetings. Switzerland also held a day of discussions with NGOs before submitting its UPR report to the UN Human Rights Council. This procedure will be repeated before submitting the next report within four years.

    Involving human rights defenders in the work of NHRIs and ombudsman institutions

    (...) Slovenia’s human rights ombudsman started a project in January 2008 based on the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture, whereby two NGOs were chosen to participate in joint monitoring visits to detention facilities. A joint report is written about each visit, and another joint report will be written about the project as a whole at the end of 2008. This sort of co-operation means a variety of views and experiences are taken into account in monitoring activities.

    Joint campaigns with human rights defenders

    (...) France’s Justice Ministry, the NGO International Observatory of Prisons, and the Office of the Mediator of the French Republic sent a confidential questionnaire to prisoners to gather information about their conditions of imprisonment. The purpose of the questionnaire was to break the silence surrounding prison issues. The information received led to improvements in detention conditions, as well as in co-operation between civil society and the French government. Azerbaijan’s Interior Ministry has also developed a mechanism for constructive co-operation with civil society, notably with representatives of the NGO Committee Against Torture and the ombudsperson responsible for monitoring detention conditions. This NGO and the Ombudsman are allowed to visit any detention centre without prior notice or permission. (...)

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