Digital transformation in Latvia: opportunities for public participation
Keywords: decision-making process, digital transformation, public participation
Language: In English

The responsibility of the public administration is to develop a business environment — an institutional system and support mechanisms that motivate entrepreneurs and encourage future growth. In the development process institutions can engage stakeholders to whom the rules and support are meant for. The problem in Latvia is that current participation opportunities in the decision-making process are unwieldy and are used only by part of the relevant stakeholders. A modern solution would be wider use of the digital environment, providing digital participation opportunities also to those citizens who are not related to lobbying organisations or non-governmental organisations. The aim of the paper is to determine what activities and improvements should be done by institutions to use digital participation methods, thus fostering public participation in Latvia. In the paper, it is particularly stressed that it is necessary for entrepreneurs to participate in the decision-making process and help to develop a business environment that is in favour of society and businesses. To evaluate digital participation opportunities in Latvia, the current situation is analysed by content analysis of the Latvian ministries’ Facebook pages, and citizens’ attitude towards digital participation is gathered by a survey of citizens who are already participating in the decisionmaking process. The research results demonstrate that digital communication of institutions often is one-way, only sometimes two-way communication is established, and entries about participation opportunities or public participation are seldom. At the same time, citizens support the use of digital participation opportunities and common digital communication policy for the public administration. Hence, potential stakeholders are interested in thoughtful communication and digital cooperation with public administration, therefore institutions should strengthen their digital dialogue with citizens considering that as a necessary part of the digital transformation process in Latvia.