What is Public Engagement?
Public engagement is a new way of thinking about how governments, stakeholders, communities and ordinary citizens can work together to achieve complex, societal goals.
Why does public engagement work and what does it do?
Governments’ approach to public policy has changed little since the 19th century. It uses top-down decision-making to arrive at solutions for individual departments. In a simpler world this worked well enough. However, in the highly interdependent world of the 21st century, issues often cut across various departments and policy fields and real solutions require collaboration. Public engagement can produce the collaboration and alignment required for effective policy design.
Where did the idea come from?
The Forum's approach to public engagement was developed by Don Lenihan through a series of pilot projects in the Province of New Brunswick. Don subsequently led the Public Engagement Project, a two-year initiative involving seven provincial/territorial governments, municipal governments, the Canada School of Public Service and the Government of Australia.
How can you put public engagement to work in your organization?
The Public Policy Forum offers a variety of ways to help your organization and staff master the concepts and develop the skills needed to design and deliver effective engagement processes, whether these are small focused projects or large community or province-wide initiatives.
Workshops and Seminars
Over the last three years, we have held more than 100 highly successful, day-long training events across Canada and internationally, involving thousands of public servants.
Ideas generation/action research/best practices
- Book - Rescuing Policy: The Case For Public Engagement
- Pilot Projects:
Don Lenihan continues to serve as an advisor to governments on dozens of projects, where he helps officials plan, deliver and evaluate engagement projects of all sorts.