The page lists responsibilities for the key parties involved in the public participation process: the community engagement team, city employee, participant, and council.
It’s a very solid resource, but I found the section on participant responsibilities particularly noteworthy:
Successful community engagement processes require respectful and constructive contributions of participants. Participants are responsible to:
- Pursue community engagement with the belief that community involvement leads to better decisions
- Focus on the decision to be made or the question to be answered
- Recognize the City must consider the needs of the whole community
- Strive to reach sustainable solutions
- Request alternative ways of participating if required
- Listen to understand the views of others
- Identify concerns and issues early in the process
- Participate openly, honestly and constructively, offering ideas, suggestions, alternatives
- Work in the process in a transparent, respectful and cooperative manner
- Stay abreast of the project, engagement activities and related issues
- Provide input and feedback within project timelines
- Encourage others to become engaged, and offer input to the project and engagement activities
- Provide contact information as requested, to receive updates about the community engagement process
First of all, it’s a really good idea to spell these out, certainly as part of a specific project but even more so as a general guideline to help shape the a city’s overall public participation culture.
Second, there are a couple of items in there that point towards an understanding of participant role that goes beyond simply contributing input in a civil and constructive manner, an opportunity we highlight frequently in our work with clients:
- Help with outreach (“encourage others to become engaged”)
- Help with improving the public participation infrastructure (“request alternative ways of participating if required”)
Have you seen similar guidelines, particularly with regard to the participant role? Please share.