Internet Resources on Public Participation
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International Association for Public Participation (IAP2)– Core Values for the Practice of Public Participation (PDF) (1 pg, 36K) IAP2 developed these core values to define the aspirations and expectations of public participation processes.
International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) – Code of Ethics for Public Participation Practitioners (PDF) (1 pg, 37K) The IAP2 Code of Ethics is a set of principles to guide public participation practitioners in enhancing the integrity of public participation processes.
National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) – Core Principles for Public Engagement (PDF) (1 pg, 1.8MB) These principles were developed collaboratively by members and leaders of NCDD, IAP2, the Co-Intelligence Institute, and many others. These seven recommendations reflect the common beliefs and understandings of those working in the fields of public engagement, conflict resolution, and collaboration.
National Consumer Council – Deliberative Public Engagement: Nine Principles (18 pp, 139K) This background paper explains deliberative approaches to public engagement, when to use deliberative public engagement, and provides nine principles for effective deliberative public engagement.
Center for Advances in Public Engagement – Public Engagement (PDF) (12 pp, 176K) This November 2008 article from Public Agenda is a primer on public engagement, which involves creating civic capacity for public problem-solving. The article provides ten core principles for public engagement.
The Co-Intelligence Institute – Principles of Public Participation This web site compares three different but complementary principles of public participation: IAP2’s Core Values for the Practice of Public Participation, the Community Development Society’s Principles of Good Practice, and Co-Intelligence Institute’s Principles to Nurture Wise Democratic Process and Collective Intelligence in Public Participation.
Society for Professionals in Dispute Resolution Environment/Public Disputes Sector Critical Issues Committee – Best Practices for Government Agencies: Guidelines for Using Collaborative Agreement-Seeking Processes (PDF) (27 pp, 65K) This 1997 report was written to serve the needs of the emerging practice of conflict resolution in the public policy arena. It offers eight recommendations for government officials who sponsor consensus processes.
World Bank – Participation and Civic Engagement This web site from the Participation and Civic Engagement Group of the World Bank’s Social Development Department promotes the participation of people and their organizations to influence institutions, policies and processes for equitable and sustainable development. It focuses on four themes : 1) social accountability, 2) enabling environment for civic engagement, 3) participatory monitoring and evaluation, and 4) participation at the project, program, and policy level.
National Research Council – Public Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decision Making, 2008 This National Science Academy study concludes that public participation, when done correctly, improves the quality of federal agencies' decisions about the environment. Well-managed public involvement also increases the legitimacy of decisions in the eyes of those affected by them, which makes it more likely that the decisions will be implemented effectively. This link is to the order page for the report, but it allows the reader to read select portions for free.
South African Institute for Environmental Assessment – A One Stop Participation Guide: A Handbook for Public Participation in Environmental Assessment in Southern Africa (PDF) (8 pp, 159K) Section 1.5 of the Introduction to this online manual explores the challenges and benefits – to civil society, developers, and decision makers – of conducting public participation as part of the environmental assessment process in the southern Africa region. These challenges and benefits are broadly applicable to many parts of the world and not unique to southern Africa.
National Consumer Council – People and Participation: How to put citizens at the heart of decision-making (PDF) (60 pp, 2.1MB) Section 2 of this manual discusses what participation is, why one should do it, and issues and tensions surrounding participation.
U.S Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) – Better Decisions through Consultation and Collaboration (PDF) (18 pp, 233K) manual. The Introduction section of this manual discusses the benefits of public involvement to agency decision makers, including expanding shared baseline knowledge, generating support for the decision, and developing ongoing relationships that will help in implementing decisions.
International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) – Spectrum of Public Participation (PDF) (1 pp, 622K) This Spectrum was designed to assist with the selection of the level of participation that defines the public's role in any public participation process. The Spectrum consists of five levels of participation and shows that differing levels of participation are legitimate and depend on the goals, time frames, resources, and levels of concern about the decision to be made.
Partnerships Online- Sherry Arnstein’s “Ladder of Citizen Participation” This website introduces and links to the full text of a journal article on Arnstein’s Ladder. Arnstein’s Ladder illustrates eight levels of participation arranged in a ladder pattern with each rung corresponding to the extent of citizens' power in determining the end product.
The Co-Intelligence Institute – Functions and Processes for Community Intelligence This web site describes five functions that serve to generate and sustain community intelligence in terms of its purpose and the general process patterns that characterize it. The community intelligence approach looks at these functions collectively to build the community's capacity to reflect and respond collectively.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Spectrum of Public Involvement (PDF) (7 pp, 131K) This website illustrates US EPA’s spectrum of public involvement, which is characterized by five different “outcomes” that result from public involvement in agency decisions. It parallels the IAP2 Spectrum, but is tailored to the specific needs of a regulatory agency.
National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation – 4 Streams of Dialogue and Deliberation (PDF) (9 pp, 184K) This framework classifies dialogue and deliberation into four streams based on the organizer's primary intention or purpose and provides information on the most well-known and well-tested methods that have proven effective in each stream.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Plan and Budget for Public Involvement (PDF) (2 pp, 72K) This 2-page brochure offers suggestions to help with planning and budgeting for public involvement activities and processes.
National Consumer Council – People and Participation: How to put citizens at the heart of decision-making (PDF) (60 pp, 2.1MB) Section 3 of this manual discusses key steps for planning a good participatory process.
The Policy Consensus Institute (PCI) – Practical Guide to Consensus (PDF) (11 pp, 123K) This guide describes an ideal approach to organizing and conducting a consensus process. It provides a brief overview of what happens in a consensus process, what to do before the process begins, and discusses planning and organizing the process.
U.S Environmental Protection Agency – Better Decisions through Consultation and Collaboration (PDF) (28 pp, 134K) manual. Written for USEPA staff, Stage 1 of this manual describes the importance of and process for conducting an assessment of internal stakeholders to establish public participation goals before engaging external stakeholders. Identifying and acknowledging project goals, objectives, and constraints, and understanding the factors that determine success, are keys to knowing which public participation process to use.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Better Decisions through Consultation and Collaboration (PDF) (14 pp, 189K) manual. Stage 2 of this manual describes the process of conducting an assessment of external stakeholders to determine issues to be discussed, how decisions will be made, and the nature and structure of the public participation process.
Oversees Development Administration (UK) – Guidance Note on How to Do A Stakeholder Analysis of Aid Projects and Programmes This guide provides practical hints and checklists on how to conduct stakeholder analyses and how such analyses can be used specifically to create a sustainable and effective aid program.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – How to Consult and Involve the Public (PDF) (2 pp, 831K) This brochure offers suggestions on how to conduct consultation and involvement activities, including tips for preparing materials, publicizing events, and having a clear purpose for participation.
Involve – People and Participation: How to put citizens at the heart of decision-making (PDF) (61 pp, 2.1MB) Section 4 of this manual discusses implementation of public participation and explores a variety of participatory methods and how they can be used.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Green Communities. This website offers a 5-step participatory environmental planning framework to help communities reduce their environmental footprint. The website offers tools and other resources for conducting community assessments, performing trends analyses, creating vision statements, and developing and implementing sustainable action plans.
U.S. Department of Transportation - Transportation Planning Capacity Building. This reference guide includes five guidelines for designing a public involvement program as well as five steps for systematically setting up and implementing a public involvement program for a specific plan, program, or project.
New South Wales, Australia, Department of Urban Affairs and Planning – Ideas for Community Consultation (PDF) (67 pp, 327K) This report provides information on the skills needed to enhance the success of community consultation at national, regional and local levels. Element 3 of the article provides a four-step process for community consultation. In addition, the report discusses principles for effective community consultation and procedures for making community consultation work.
Action Research Resources – Active Democracy Community Consultation Checklist This document was prepared for an on-line course in action research and evaluation and draws on material from a paper prepared for a community consultation workshop. The document lists some important issues to take into account during the planning and implementation of a community consultation process. It is organized around three themes: contextual issues, style (assessment), and practice (implementation).
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – How to Evaluate Public Involvement (PDF) (2 pp, 73K) This brochure offers reasons for and consideration on how to evaluate public involvement activities and processes.
Local Livelihoods, Ltd. – Participation Toolkit (PDF) (47 pp, 332K) Although called a tool kit, this manual is a collection of participatory training and workshop facilitation techniques for leading people in discussing, analyzing, and deciding about issues in an open and democratic manner. The exercises are inclusive and encourage the recognition and respect for cultural interdependence, both within and between communities.
U.S. National Parks Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program – Community Tool Box. This page of the website provides basic information on facilitation skills and behaviors, including active listening, brainstorming, breakout groups, flip charts, and ice breakers.
Bonner Curriculum- Facilitation 101 (PDF) (11 pp, 125K) This resource provides a basic overview of facilitation and a facilitator’s duties, techniques, behaviors, and leadership skills.
EffectiveMeetings.com – Using Group Process Techniques to Improve Meeting Effectiveness This article discusses principles for more effective meetings. It provides a list of considerations for meeting planning, including the type or purpose of the meeting and where it falls in the decision process. It also provides tips for matching specific tools or techniques to meeting types or agenda items.
Mind Tools - Active Listening – Hear What People Are Really Saying. This website presents five key elements of active listening, which is an essential public participation, facilitation, and negotiation skill.
International Association for Public Participation – Public Participation Toolbox (PDF) (15 pp, 297K) This tool box is organized around three groups of techniques: for sharing information, to compile and provide feedback, and to bring people together. Each technique is briefly defined and discussed in terms of its promise and potential pitfalls.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Superfund Community Involvement Toolkit. The purpose of this toolkit is to provide US EPA staff with a range of tools and techniques for involving communities in cleanup of Superfund (hazardous waste) sites. Although each tool is discussed in the context of the Superfund program, the tool kit has value for others seeking information on specific tools.
Victoria, Australia, Department of Sustainability and Environment – Effective Engagement Toolkit. This toolkit consists of is a list of tools for assisting in the planning, implementation and evaluation of community engagement activities. Each tool listing includes a detailed description of the tool’s objectives, resources required to use the tool, and a discussion of the tool’s strengths and weakness. The site also includes references for further exploration.
U.S. Department of Transportation – Transportation Planning Capacity Building. This toolkit is focused on public involvement in transportation projects. It is organized around four themes: informing people through outreach and organization; involving people face-to-face through meetings; getting feedback from participants; and using special techniques to enhance participation. Each theme includes a description of key tools, why they are useful, and how they might be combined with other techniques.
Griffith University Urban Research Program – The Citizen Science Toolbox. This toolbox is a free resource of principles and strategies to enhance meaningful stakeholder involvement in decision-making. It includes descriptions of more than 60 community involvement tools, case studies, and an annotated bibliography.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) - Strengthening Participation for Development Results: An Asian Development Bank Guide to Participation. This toolkit contains guidance on what constitutes “adequate consultation,” for ADB-assisted activities and contains operational guidelines for participatory development. Included are nine tools specific for consultation and participation.
The Ohio State University Extension – Planning and Conducting Effective Public Meetings: This fact sheet provides ideas for how to prepare for a successful public meeting.
On-line Networks and Electronic Tools
Making The Net Work – Creating Online Networks. This website is a general resource on how to use new technologies for a variety of organizational or planning purposes. It includes links for helping people, projects, organizations, and communities.
NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement – Armchair Involvement: Practical Technology for Improving Engagement This report includes an extensive discussion (starting on page 28) of tools for Armchair Involvement, which is defined as technologies that enable citizen engagement on their own terms, including “from their own armchair.” While most of these tools are focused on informing the public, many can also be used to obtain information from the public.
NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement – Armchair Involvement Guide (PDF) (50 pp, 5.2MB) This guide offers principles for and challenges associated with using electronic technologies for public participation. It also provides “playing cards” for specific technologies. Each playing card describes a technology, its potential benefits, and things to consider before deciding to use the technology.
Case Western Reserve University, The Weatherhead School of Management – Appreciation Inquiry (AI) Commons. This website provides of academic resources and practical tools on AI.
National Charrette Institute – Charrettes 101: Dynamic Planning for Community Change (PDF) (12 pp, 212K) This guide discusses what separates charrettes from other planning processes and identifies the elements of successful charettes.
Lehigh University – Conducting a Focus Group. This website describes the purpose of focus groups and provides instructions for each of the three main phases of focus groups: planning, conducting, and post-focus group actions.
The Co-Intelligence Institute. This website provides an introduction to study circles and provides additional resources for learning about the study circles tool.
The World Café. This website provides information on the design principles for planning and organizing a World Café. It also includes hosting guidelines and other resources for planning a World Café.
Citizen Advisory Boards
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Community Advisory Group Toolkit (PDF) (137 pp, 1.4MB) This guide provides information on the advantages of Community Advisory Groups as well as thorough instructions on forming a representative Community Advisory Group, writing mission statements, and developing operational principles.
The Jefferson Center for New Democratic Process – Citizen Jury Handbook (PDF) (112 pp, 611K) This handbook provides a thorough explanation on the planning and key elements of a Citizen Jury project as well as sample documents.
LEI, The Hague – Consensus Conference Manual. This manual (PDF) (40 pp, 405K) describes the tool, its practical applications, and provides step-by-step guidelines for organizing consensus conferences.
Search for Common Ground – Participatory Theater for Conflict Transformation Training manual (PDF) (52 pp, 3.4MB) This manual defines Participatory Theatre and describes its different styles, including debate theatre, invisible theatre, image theatre, and playback theatre. Although the manual focuses on participatory theatre as a conflict transformation tool, it also can be used as a public participation tool.
New South Wales Government, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water. This website includes a number of case studies pertaining to public participation pertaining to stormwater management, including:
- Bronte Catch Citizens Jury. This is a detailed case study that describes why and how a citizens jury was used to improve water quality at Bronte Beach in New South Wales. It is a good example of the Involve level of public participation.
- Circus West Street Theatre. This is a detailed case study that describes the use street theater to deliver messages on stormwater pollution to community members who may not have been receptive to conventional educational methods. It is a good example of the Inform level of public participation.
The World Bank – World Bank Participation Sourcebook (PDF) (280 pp, 21MB) This sourcebook contains case studies on a range of participatory practices around the world. It also includes practice pointers in enabling the poor to participate and an appendix of methods and tools.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – Negotiation and Mediation Techniques for Natural Resource Management: Case Studies and Lessons Learned (PDF) (76 pp, 1.6MB) This manual takes a participatory approach to building citizen capacity to manage and resolve natural resource conflicts in Africa. It includes two case studies: one pertaining to wildlife management in Namibia; the other involving a community forestry conflict in Gambia. Both provide examples of the Collaborate level of public participation.
Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe. This website features a number of case studies from Eastern Europe pertaining to the use of environmental mediation as a tool for public participation and conflict resolution.
South African Institute for Environmental Assessment – Calabash Case Studies: Public Participation in the SADC Region. This manual provides six case studies on the use of public participation in environmental assessments in the South African Development Community region.
Centre for Advances in Public Engagement – Framing for Deliberation (PDF) (8 pp, 89K) This paper presents research on the impacts of different types of issue framing on the capacity and willingness of diverse groups to engage in productive dialogue and deliberation.
Centre for Advances in Public Engagement – Beginning with the End in Mind: A Call for Goal-Driven Deliberative Practice (PDF) (20 pp, 192K) This paper includes a discussion (beginning on page 4) of the Six Goals of Public Deliberation, which include issue learning, improving democratic attitudes, improving democratic skills, improving community action, improving institutional decision-making, and improving community problem-solving.
Public Conversations Project – Fostering Dialogue Across Divides (PDF) (45 pp, 256K) This guidebook provides a philosophically grounded approach to dialogue. Dialogue is defined as a conversation in which people who have different beliefs and perspectives seek to develop mutual understanding. The guidebook also includes instructions on planning, designing, and facilitating dialogue.
Interaction Associates – From Conflict to Consensus This brief white paper discusses three critical tasks for leaders in moving groups from conflict to consensus.
National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) – Resource Guide on Public Engagement (PDF) (20 pp, 2.3M). This on-line resource manual provides descriptions of and links to a number of resources recommended by NCDD, including how-to guides and manuals, handy tools for facilitators, articles on public engagement, on-line engagement resources, as well as information on core principles for public engagement and information on NCDD’s “Streams of Practice.”
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Better Decisions through Consultation and Collaboration manual (PDF) (141 pp, 3MB) This manual provides detailed guidance on various of public participation, including benefits to sponsor agencies, conducting situation assessments, implementing the process, and benefiting from the results of the process.
For additional information on EPA's Public Participation Guide, contact:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2650R)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460