Birutė Mikulskienė Birutė Pitrėnaitė-Žilėnienė


Since the main policy outlining the arena proceeds at the level of governmental organisations, the operational level of policy governance needs to be aligned with the demands of wider participation. Namely at this level, representation of local government interests together with public opinions concerning the relevant problems, methods for their solution and their relevance to wider needs are required. This paper is designed to investigate participation of local government in the decisionmaking process initiated by the Ministry of Education and Science and to evaluate the impact of interest representation in the formation of public policy. The research methodology of mixed methods was employed (document analysis and interviews with the members officially nominated to resolve problems, decision-making groups, councils and commissions operating from 2007 to 2010 at the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania). Formal participatory instruments were applied 162 times involving 985 actors in affiliate associations, service providers, regulators, service supporters, funding offices and independent experts. The research has revealed occasional tendencies of local government participation in the participatory instruments for public policy formation. On the contrary, empirical studies of the group characteristics exhibit a rather low level of interest representation.