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Citizen Engagement & Collaboration. Building Trust in Public Governance. Presented by: Serena Cassidy. Cover Image: Presentation Outline. Introduction Project Overview Method Defining Citizen Engagement Citizen Engagement Principles

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citizen engagement collaboration
Citizen Engagement & Collaboration
  • Building Trust in Public Governance

Presented by:

Serena Cassidy

Cover Image:

presentation outline
Presentation Outline
  • Introduction
    • Project Overview
    • Method
    • Defining Citizen Engagement
    • Citizen Engagement Principles
    • Overview of Citizen Engagement
    • Citizen Engagement & Governance
presentation outline cont
Presentation Outline Cont…
  • Citizen Engagement Framework
  • Case Study: VP CD Project
    • Inclusion & Citizen Engagement
  • Analysis of Citizen Engagement Methods
  • Policy Benefits of Citizen Engagement
  • Challenges to Implementation
  • Conclusion
project overview
Project Overview
  • Voluntary Planning/ OED – Establishing a Common Vision for the Future of Nova Scotia
  • Researching & developing a database of citizen engagement methods used by citizens/practitioners/organizations worldwide
project overview5
Project Overview
  • Developing a ‘tool’ by which communities/government can choose the method of citizen engagement best suited for their local needs
  • Goal: Building trust in public governance by providing information in a transparent and straightforward manner
project overview6
Project Overview
  • We heard during consultations with community leaders that there is no need to reinvent the wheel – a large body of information about citizen engagement is readily available on the Internet. What is needed is a tool for determining the best way to engage in the visioning process in local communities, along with information on various types of citizen engagement methods.
  • World-wide research was conducted in order to gather information on the best practices and practical uses of current citizen engagement methods.
  • The information was organized into the following categories:
    • description of method and/or process
    • definition of method
    • practical application
    • projected outcomes
    • rationale for method
defining citizen engagement
Defining Citizen Engagement

According to OECD, citizen engagement involves:

  • “… [Recognizing] the capacity of citizens to discuss and generate policy options independently. It requires governments to share in agenda setting and to ensure that policy proposals generated jointly will be taken into account in reaching a final decision.”
  • Source: Canadian Policy Research Networks, Engaging Citizen’s in Policy, M.P. McKinnon, March 10, 2006 <>
defining citizen engagement9
Defining Citizen Engagement
  • The BC Healthy Communities Network defines community engagement as:
  • “…encouraging inclusion and participation of diverse individuals, organizations and sectors, [and] honoring the many ways that people make a contribution to community building.”
  • Source: BC Healthy Communities, 2005 – 2007 Strategic Plan: <>
defining citizen engagement10
Defining Citizen Engagement
  • “…democracy is strengthened when citizens are engaged in an inclusive and transparent policy process … Voluntary Planning strives to include all Nova Scotians geographically, sectorally and socially; and to operate in the service of government’s policy needs but at arms’ length from government. … the process is transparent so that it is fair, and is perceived to be fair, in representing the views of citizens.”
  • Voluntary Planning, A Citizens’ Policy Forum: <>
citizen engagement principles
Citizen Engagement Principles
  • Sustainability
  • Collaborative leadership
  • Creativity
  • Diversity
    • Inclusion
      • Geographic Community
      • Communities of Affinity
      • Demographic Communities
citizen engagement principles12
Citizen Engagement Principles
  • According to the Nova Scotia Community Development Policy, “all community members, regardless of gender, age, disability, race, culture, language or social and economic status should have the opportunity to become engaged in the community development process and be able to access its social and economic benefits.”
overview of citizen engagement
Overview of Citizen Engagement
  • A process of both dialogue and deliberation
    • Dialogue: As a tool for community planning, “dialogue [is a] powerful group process that helps people bridge gaps, make better decisions, take collective action, resolve conflict and become more active citizens.”
overview of citizen engagement14
Overview of Citizen Engagement
  • Deliberation: “people coming together to talk about a community problem that is important to them…face to face…considering the costs and consequences of public policy decisions.”
citizen engagement governance
Citizen Engagement & Governance
  • Local citizens, governments and community organizations are meeting together to ask the following questions:
    • What is the vision for our community?
    • How can we engage citizens in discussions about important issues?
    • What is the best way to plan for sustainable community development?
citizen engagement governance16
Citizen Engagement & Governance
  • Citizen engagement is the driving force behind vibrant and sustainable community development.
  • However, our communities are changing:
    • Demographics
    • Urban sprawl
    • Increased Traffic

Source: Roseland, M., Toward Sustainable Communities, 2005.

citizen engagement governance17
Citizen Engagement & Governance
  • Facilitates development of a shared vision and establishment of common goals between citizens and government
  • The establishment of clear objectives and outcomes helps to increase trust between community stakeholders and government
citizen engagement framework
Citizen Engagement Framework
  • Citizen engagement reflects a higher level of dialogue and communication than government consultation with stakeholders
  • Increasing level of Public Impact
        • Empower
        • Collaborate
        • Involve
        • Consult
        • Inform
citizen engagement framework19
Citizen Engagement Framework
  • Common Theme:
    • The gap between citizens and government is bridged by equitable decision making processes, inclusive participatory methods and clearly identifiable outcomes.
case study voluntary planning cd project
Case Study: Voluntary Planning CD Project
  • Establishing a common vision for the future of Nova Scotia
  • Promotes a balanced approach to CD
  • Involves community meetings with diverse ‘stakeholders’
  • Includes the social, economic, environmental and cultural dimensions of community based on principles of the NS CD Policy
ns cd policy
NS CD Policy
  • The aim of the CD Policy is to encourage communities to take the lead in their own development – while government provides support and resources.
  • The government’s CD Policy emphasizes a collaborative approach between government and communities which, “…builds on the combined skills, resources and commitment needed to address challenges and opportunities.”
inclusion citizen engagement
Inclusion & Citizen Engagement
  • Inclusion Lens
    • “a tool for analyzing legislation, policies, programs, and practices to determine whether they promote the social and economic inclusion of individuals, families, and communities.”
    • a way to begin a dialogue with socially excluded groups
inclusion citizen engagement23
Inclusion & Citizen Engagement

Important questions to ask include:

  • Who is being excluded?
  • Who benefits from exclusion?
  • Who are the people to be included?
  • How will the policy or program increase or decrease discrimination on the basis of gender, race, age, culture, or ethnicity?
analysis of citizen engagement methods
Analysis of Citizen Engagement Methods
  • The resulting document provides relevant information that a community group or organization can use to determine the usefulness of a method of engagement. It provides information about the practical application of each method, amount of resources needed, and actual outcomes.
methods of citizen engagement
Methods of Citizen Engagement
  • Appreciative Inquiry
  • Community Forum
  • Conversation Café/ World Café
  • Focus Groups
  • Open Space Technology
appreciative inquiry
Appreciative Inquiry
  • “a concept of sustainable development that integrates economic growth, social well-being, and environmental integrity.”
  • Focus on a ‘positive present’ and recognizing community assets
  • Framework for Heartwood’s Community Youth Development Framework and IMAGINE Chicago Model
community forum
Community Forum
  • “a group of people living in the same locality and under the same government who assemble at a public meeting place in order to engage in an open discussion on a selected issue.”
community forum28
Community Forum
  • Takes place within the community
  • Easy to organize
  • Low cost involved
  • Similar to a Town Hall Meeting
  • Use of local media
    • Various forms of communication used
    • Various forms of technology used
conversation caf world caf
Conversation Café/World Café
  • Involves the use of a facilitator who leads a discussion in an informal public setting
  • Based on Appreciative Inquiry method
  • Emphasizes creativity
  • Allows citizens to express their ideas in alternate formats (visual, audio, spatial)
conversation caf
Conversation Café
  • “Open, hosted, drop-in conversations among people with diverse views and a shared passion for engaging with others. [It is] held in public spaces [such as] cafés, restaurants and bookstores, and provides a safe setting for talking with neighbours about things that matter over a cup of coffee or tea.”
conversation caf31
Conversation Café
  • Builds critical thinking, social engagement and conviviality
  • Simple Agreements:
    • Acceptance
    • Open-mindedness
    • Curiosity
    • Discovery
    • Sincerity
    • Brevity
world caf
World Café
  • “an intentional way to create a living network of conversation around questions that matter… [As well as]…a creative process for leading collaborative dialogue, sharing knowledge and creating possibilities for action in groups of all sizes.”
world caf33
World Café
  • Involves the use of a facilitator
  • Facilitator guides the conversation by asking questions such as:
    • “What is the best outcome we can envision?
    • What line (s) of inquiry do we want to pursue?”
  • Participants are invited, rather than just ‘dropping in’
focus groups
Focus Groups
  • “a [semi-structured] interview conducted with a small group of people rather than on an individual basis. A moderator guides the discussion by following a set of …questions, while a recorder takes notes. Common themes which emerge from the conversation are analyzed and summarized…”
open space technology
Open Space Technology
  • “a powerful group process that supports positive transformation, … inspires creative solutions, improves communication and enhances collaboration”
  • Citizens respond to a clearly articulated theme
open space technology36
Open Space Technology
  • “the participants who show up are the right people, whatever happens is the only thing that can happen, the right time to start is whenever it starts…”
  • Citizens have the opportunity to assemble and prioritize the planning process in a fun and creative way, which allows for the spontaneous emergence of critical issues that may not have been realized at the outset of the community visioning process.
policy benefits of ce
Policy Benefits of CE
  • Knowledge of grass roots issues reaches ‘those in power’
  • Diversity of voices can be heard
  • Alternate methods of community contribution are recognized
  • Allows action at the ‘community level’.
challenges to policy implementation
Challenges to Policy Implementation
  • Outcome delivery
  • Differing political agendas
  • Changing Mandates
  • Agenda setting by groups of individuals/ organizations
  • Citizen Task Force was assembled in Fall 2006
  • Project has been ‘temporarily suspended’ by the Office of Economic Development