This technical report describes a study of the ways in which government authorities promote social engagement in support of public objectives. The research focused on how government policy instruments promote social engagement in support of public objectives. A long list of instruments was drawn up and four cases studies on the use of such instruments were carried out and analysed. The instruments are Green Deals, the Dutch National Fund for Green Investments (Groenfonds), the ‘Acceleration Agenda for the Do- Democracy’ (Versnellingsagenda Doe-democratie) and the ‘Social Participation Code’ (Code Maatschappelijke Participatie). Each of these can be seen as a different ‘flavour’ of the promotion of social engagement and of practices to learn from. The conclusions are that: 1) mobilising social engagement is not restricted to nature policy; 2) each instrument is part of a wider approach and has its own contexts and specific focus on social engagement, which can also shift over time; 3) the instruments investigated create an interface between national government and society; 4) as a result, social capital accumulates between parties and this can be used to give practical shape to social engagement; and 5) it is plausible that this actually takes place. Social engagement in support of public objectives is not yet standard practice, but is part of an emerging approach by a networking and responsive government in which society and government participate in each other’s initiatives. For government authorities it is important to develop the capacity to do this and to take a systematic and learning-based approach in which attention is given to performance and legitimacy.
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