Lena Langlet is responsible for citizen dialogues at the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, SKKL. She has identified a number of reasons why citizen dialogues are vital to Swedish municipalities and county councils. Interest in becoming involved in political parties and organisations is declining, election participation is uneven across socioeconomic bands, undemocratic trends are growing stronger – and, at the same time, people want to be involved.
Swedish municipalities can make an important contribution to the development of citizen dialogues, e.g. in the form of transparent control systems and the role of politics in the process. International experience of how to create civic influence on complex issues is also growing. Municipal partnerships allow two parties to work, face to face, with the complex challenge of increasing participation in and collective input to society’s development.