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Wieke Blijleven, Merlijn van Hulst and Frank Hendriks

The increased importance of democratic innovation reshapes the role of government and politics, including that of civil servants. Although public servants play an important role in making democratic innovations work in practice, a comprehensive overview of their roles and practices in democratic innovation is missing. This chapter develops such an overview, by drawing on insights from research on front-line work in governance, democratic professionalism, process facilitation, boundary spanning and meta-governance. These literatures show that civil servants can play a key role by facilitating democratic processes and community initiatives, and through sharing their knowledge and expertise, in ways that empower citizens. In addition, public servants share the fundamental challenge of connecting and translating between institutions, organizations and processes inside and outside city hall.