First, there need to be forums where citizens can debate issues amongst themselves. The problem today is that there are too many claimants for the civil society mantle. Instead, what needs to happen is neighbourhood forums where citizens can debate and arrive at a consensus. These deliberations have to become the foundation of our democracy. Citizens must be careful to weed out extreme positions since they will not take the discussion forward and only end up polarising the debate.
Second, the outcome of the citizen meetings need to be formally discussed with elected representatives periodically at open meetings. These can take place once every 2-3 months. A common complaint that citizens have is that elected representatives only show up just before elections asking for their vote! This needs to change. Elected representatives must be accountable to their constituents and interact at public meetings on a regular basis.
Taken together, these two steps will allow for a frank exchange between people and the elected representatives.