Democracies are under pressure and public administrations must evolve to accommodate new forms of public participation. Participation processes may reproduce or disrupt existing power inequalities. Through a multi-method empirical study of “Participation Requests,” a new legislative policy tool to open up public services in Scotland, this article addresses an empirical gap on governance-driven democratic innovations (DIs). We use Young’s distinction of external and internal inclusion and find Participation Requests replicate the pitfalls of traditional forms of associative democracy. We contend that DIs should be co-produced between institutions and communities to bring a participatory and deliberative corrective to temper bureaucratic logics.