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"Can our field present a united front to the new Administration? Let's start by seeing if we can develop a set of principles for public engagement we can all endorse..."

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    I found this on Wikipedia's "Public Engagement" page...

    Nine principles of public engagement

    1. Participants should join those organising the process in setting terms of reference for the whole exercise, and framing the questions that they will discuss.

    2. The group organising, or in overall control of, the process should be broad based, including stakeholders with different interests on the subject being discussed.

    3. There should be a diversity of information sources and perspectives available to participants.

    4. There should be space for the perspectives of those participants who lack specialist knowledge of the area concerned to engage in a two-way exchange with those possessing specialist knowledge.

    5. There should be complete transparency of the activities carried out within the process to those both inside and outside it.

    6. Those without a voice in policy-making should be enabled to use the consultation process as a tool for positive political change. This should be embedded in the process by sufficient funds being made available for follow-up work after their initial conclusions have been reached.

    7. The process should contain safeguards against decision-makers using a process to legitimise existing assumptions or policies.

    8. All groups involved in the process should be given the opportunity to identify possible strategies for longer-term learning, development and change on a range of issues relating to their conclusions.

    9. The group organising, or in overall control of, the process should develop an audit trail through the process, to explain whether policies were changed, what was taken into account, what criteria were applied when weighing up the evidence from the process, and therefore how the views of those involved in the participatory process may have made a difference. This should be explored together will as many those involved in all levels of the process as possible.

    • CommentAuthorTom Atlee
    • CommentTimeFeb 21st 2009
     

    This is great, with the exception of (6), which I find confusing and potentially inappropriate for our specific task.  (9) contains a typo: "will" should be "with".

    In general, I think this highlights the need for standards about the inclusivity of a conversation's convening and organizing activities BEFORE the event (1 and 2), as well as a need to enable -- and be transparent about -- follow-up and impact AFTER the event (8 and 9 and the confusing 6).  This is in addition to our usual focus on the conversational event, itself.  It also highlights the need to attend to players both inside and outside the event (e.g., 5).

    I love the inclusion of (7) and would revise it as follows:  "The process should contain safeguards against decision-makers or others convening a process to legitimise existing assumptions or policies or manipulating it to advance special interest or official preferences."

    And I guess I would revise (6) to say what I THINK it is trying to say: "To encourage active citizenship, funding should be provided to enable ordinary citizen participants in public engagement events to engage in follow-up actions related to the issues on which they deliberated."

    I would revise (3) as follows:  "There should be a diversity of information sources and perspectives available to participants, reflecting at least the range of opinions and proposals under current consideration and, at best, some provocatively innovative views and proposals, as well."

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