Public Participation: Critical to any Democracy
"When people vote for direct representatives or political parties, in elections (for government and any other institutions) they are voting for these representatives or parties to make laws and policies on their behalf and to ensure that these are carried out. This is one of the most important principles of democracy. However, democracy also means that the people who have been elected are accountable in various ways to the people who voted for them. Citizens have a role to play in participating in government and governance processes on an ongoing basis to ensure that the people they vote for carry out their duties and obligations. They have a constitutional right to be involved in these processes in all spheres of government: national or local" (paralegaladvice.org).
One important aspect of a policy that aims to promote a high degree of integrity in public life is public participation. Members of the public can bring to the attention of the relevant authorities any issue regarding the misconduct of people in public office. This is done in an atmosphere that is amicable and encourages open communication between the person responsible for receiving the complaints and the general public. It may seem unnecessary to involve ordinary citizens in the policing of public officials but according to the World Bank policy on anticorruption, "public scrutiny has proven to be one of the most powerful forms of monitoring public officials" (worldbank.org).
Where the gaze of the monitoring authorities fails to detect any malfeasance, observations made by members of the public are useful in uncovering corruption in public office such as the use of state resources for personal use by public officials. Protection for any member of the public coming forward with information about corrupt public officials is also an essential element of the policy. Under the policy, public officials cannot use their power to retaliate against members of the public for raising genuine concerns about an official's misconduct. Public officials should ensure that they do not put any obstacles in the way of its citizens nor to hinder their 'lawful' and 'constructive activity', but rather should eagerly seek to promote / enhance such 'orderly activity.'
The PASTORAL CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH IN THE MODERN WORLD (VATICAN II) states: "Political parties must support whatever in their opinion is conducive to the common good, but must never put their own interests before the common good. The general public (citizens), on the other hand, either individually or in association, should take care not to vest too much power in the hands of public authority nor to make untimely and exaggerated demands for favors and subsidies, lessening in this way the responsible role of individuals, families, and social groups." (GS Gaudium et Spes: 1965)