Keeping the public well informed and engaged is critical for effective policies. These public engagement resources and tools were created to improve community engagement, including the process and results.
Public Engagement Resources
- Government of Canada
This resource outlines down the federal government’s top five principles for public engagement:
- Transparency: This comes down to letting Canadians know what you are doing and why you are doing it. The Canadian government informs stakeholders about upcoming engagement opportunities and releases timely reports detailing them.
- Relevancy: It’s important that when you are engaging with the public, it’s about topics that actually impact them, which is something the Canadian Government always aims to do.
- Inclusivity: This means reaching out to people from diverse backgrounds. This includes diversity of culture, ethnicity, wealth, health, ability and more. The Government does this by engaging in a variety of areas, using French, English and other languages, active listening and considering how different target audiences communicate
- Accountability: The government takes responsibility for their actions and explains what input is involved in making those decisions. They also prioritize following through on promises by investing the appropriate resources.
- Adaptability: This means they adjust their approach to consultation and engagement to match what the public is currently after. This also means defining clear goals, and measuring if their approach was successful, and adapting accordingly.
Although these five principles seem obvious, they can be easy to forget if you’re caught up in a large project with lots of moving pieces. They are a great foundation to ensure short-term and long-term success.
This article outlines a workshop held by the Government of Canada known as Learning Together for Better Public Engagement, or Learn4PE. This workshop was designed to improve public engagement skills across all Government sectors. This article not only explains the purpose behind the workshop, but also explains it’s successes and failures, which is important to consider when planning public engagement activities of your own.
- Government of Canada
Based on the results of the Learn4PE workshop, the Government of Canada designed a presenters handbook, a set of activities and a collection of definition cards to help you run your own public engagement workshop. This toolkit has been fine tuned based on previous Learn4PE workshop results, and if you host your own workshop, you are encouraged to send in your results through the Public Engagement Community of Practice on GCcollab portal.
This toolkit is designed to help you through step one of the public engagement process. It helps you identify things like who is affected by this issue, who is influential in this area, what pre existing relationship do those involved have with the government and how much do those involved know about the issue. It’s important to answer these questions before designing a public engagement campaign so that you know who your target audience is, which groups will support you and the type of outreach that will be most effective.
- Government of Alberta Municipal Affairs
Created by the Government of Alberta’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs, this book outlines how to plan and execute successful in person and online public input opportunities. This book was written for those in municipal administration involved in planning and reviewing public input and counsel members who make decisions about public input. It is divided into three main sections:
- Section 1: This section explains how to plan and design public input opportunities for small and mid-sized municipalities. Section 1 explains how public input results in better relationships with your citizens, reduces complaints and results in better decision making. You will also learn how much effort you should put into public engagement and what is required to plan full scale level 3 public engagement.
- Section 2: This section focuses on implementing public engagement. It discusses writing, infographic and formatting tips, how to make engaging presentations and how to improve stakeholder relations.
- Section 3: Section 3 will answer all of your questions about digital engagement. It begins by defining what digital engagement is, then explains its benefits, potential barriers and lastly how to choose the right digital tools for the job.
As of July 2018, every Albertan municipality must have a Public Participation Policy that is available to the general public. The RMA and AUMA created a Public Engagement Guide to give municipalities step by step instructions on how to fulfill this Public Participation Policy. You can click here to view and download the Public Engagement Guide.
- AAMDC and AUMA
This public participation guide gets into the nitty gritty of official Albertan policies surrounding public engagement. It also provides a 12 page public policy template and a public notification bylaw template. Many of the previous links walked you through the early stages of public engagement development, whereas this guide provides you with the legal documents to implement it.
- AUMA and RMA
This webpage contains links to six documents meant to support municipalities in meeting the requirements of the Alberta Public Participation Policy, many of which are already on this list. It includes links to the Public Engagement Guide, Public Engagement Workbook, Social Media Resource Guide, Public Participation Policies and Public Notification guide, Public Participation Policy Template and the Bylaw Template. It is a great resource where you can find everything in one place.
- City of Edmonton
This link describes how the City of Edmonton developed their Public Engagement Charter, which allows for strategic, coordinated and collaborative public engagement. Click the link above to contact the City of Edmonton Public Engagement Section for more information.