1 CORE PRINCIPLES FOR PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT (draft version 3.0, 4/1/09)
2 Developed collaboratively by members of leading public engagement organizations
3 There are many ways that people can come together to deal with issues that affect their lives. We believe that public engagement involves convening diverse yet representative groups of people to wrestle with information from a variety of viewpoints, in conversations that are well-facilitated, providing direction for their own community activities or public judgments that will be seriously considered by policy-makers and/or their fellow citizens.
4 It is our stance that quality public engagement must take into consideration seven core principles if it is to effectively build mutual understanding, meaningfully affect policy development, and/or inspire collaborative action among citizens and institutions.
5 The following seven principles overlap and reinforce each other in practice. They serve as ideals to pursue and as criteria for judging quality. Rather than promoting partisan agendas, the implementation of these principles generates authentic stakeholder engagement around public issues.
6 1. Planning and Preparation
7 Plan, design, and convene the engagement specifically to serve both the purpose of the effort and the needs of participants.
8 2. Inclusion and Diversity
9 Incorporate diverse voices, ideas, and information to lay the groundwork for quality outcomes and democratic legitimacy.
10 3. Collaboration and Shared Purpose
11 Support organizers, participants, and those engaged in follow-up to work well together for the common good.
12 4. Listening and Learning
13 Help participants listen, explore and learn without predetermined outcomes -- and evaluate public engagement efforts for lessons.
14 5. Transparency and Trust
15 Promote openness and provide a public record of the people, resources, forums, and outcomes involved.
16 6. Impact and Action
17 Ensure each participatory effort has real potential to make a difference.
18 7. Sustained Participation and Democratic Culture
19 Promote a culture of participation with programs and institutions that support ongoing quality public engagement.
20 This list represents a consensus in the field of dialogue and deliberation, but most practices tend to emphasize or apply these principles differently or to reach beyond this basic consensus in one way or another. To learn more about such diverse understandings and applications, consult the online version of these guidelines.*
21 Finally, we believe the use of technology should be generally encouraged whenever appropriate to enhance and not impede these seven values -- and also that these seven principles apply to both online and offline efforts. However, there is not yet consensus in our field on standards for the use of technology that would warrant the inclusion of specific online or electronic guidelines in this document.
*An elaboration of these basic principles can be found at www.quicktopic.com/43/D/yP8nKZtRurb.html. You are welcome to add comments to that document as well, although this simpler list of principles is what we are seeking endorsements for.
The dialogue that generated this document can be found at www.thataway.org/2009/pep_project/ (in addition to more details about this project). In the future, NCDD will provide more organized online details regarding variants of this document and statements of values, guidelines, and principles from other organizations and practitioner groups.