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Public Engagement in a Multi-Stakeholder World Don Lenihan June 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Public Engagement in a Multi-Stakeholder World Don Lenihan June 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Public Engagement in a Multi-Stakeholder World Don Lenihan June 2008

2 Overview  Setting the Stage  The Model: The Five Questions  Summary Points and the Two Big Issues  Conclusion

3 Setting the Stage  The Basic Idea: Societal goals cannot be achieved by government alone.  The Problem: Government has become the primary decision maker and problem solver in our society.  The Solution: Some ownership of and responsibility for solving complex issues and achieving societal goals must be transferred back to the public.  The Means: Government must engage them in a way that leads to recognition and acceptance of new roles and responsibilities and a commitment to action.

4 Setting the Stage  Public engagement is not just desirable; it is a condition of effective governance.

5 Two Issues  How do we avoid:  creating unrealistic expectations?  getting committed to goals that distract from other priorities?  projects we cannot afford?  initiatives that do not serve the public interest?  Will political leaders buy in?

6 The Model

7 Five questions  What do we mean by “public engagement”?  When and why do we engage the public?  Who should we be talking to and what kind of dialogue should we be having with them?  What’s government’s role?  Which process is the right one?

8 The Engagement Continuum Q.1: What do we mean by “public engagement”? Views → Deliberation → Action

9 Question 1 Discussion  Do we need to move beyond consultation?  If so, find examples of Stage 1, 2 and 3 processes  Can you find some examples of processes that did not go far enough or went too far?

10 Q.2: When and Why do we engage the public?  To align activities  To change public attitudes and behaviour  To make choices about the future

11 Question 2 Discussion  Find examples where a Stage 2 or Stage 3 process would be undertaken to: a) align, b) change behaviour and c) make choices about the future.  Are there any cases where more than one reason exists to engage the public?  Are there any other reasons for engaging the public not on this list?

12 Q.3: What kind of dialogue should we be having and with whom?  The bad old days of planning  Today’s approach: Visioning Strategic planning Logic models  What’s the difference? Different dialogues for different tasks Division of labour Weighting of tasks

13 Q.3: What kind of dialogue (con’t)  The Vision Dialogue with citizens  The Means-Ends Dialogue with stakeholders  The Action Dialogue with citizens

14 Question 3 Discussion  Find examples of public discussion where different levels of dialogue are being run together.  Try to disentangle the different levels of dialogue.

15 Q. 4: What’s government’s role?  Government as: Convener Facilitator Participant and Enabler Partner

16 Convener  When governments launch dialogue processes, stakeholders usually come  As the convener, government gets to frame the dialogue

17 Facilitator  As a facilitator, government should: build trust among the participants and commitment to the process encourage them to work together as a team help them recognize, articulate and accept their role in making change happen help them work through the issues, arrive at decisions and form a plan together keep the dialogue focused at the right level

18 Participant and Enabler  As a participant and enabler government must be prepared to: Sit at the table as one stakeholder among others, representing particular public interests Use its authorities and resources in new and innovative ways to help support collaborative efforts at planning and action

19 Partner  As a partner, it must be willing and able to work with businesses and community organizations in new kinds of collaborative arrangements.

20 Question 4 Discussion  How effectively do the various checks and balances work to control the floodgates issue?

21 Q.5 What’s the Right Process?  Skills Development: 1. We want better alignment and collaboration 2. Stage 3—Action 3.Stakeholders—The dialogue is about means- ends, interests and capacities 4.What is government prepared to ante up?  Launch an ongoing dialogue (the summit) and demonstrate its commitment to changing the relationship

22 Working Group Round Table Event Report Observers Action Plan

23 Structure and Tools Collaboration and the On-Going Dialogue Participation The Report and Action Plan Ownership and Accountability

24 Forestry: Answers to the Questions  1. Giving citizens a say on the long-term use of their forests  2. Stage 2—Deliberation  3.Community members—The dialogue is about deciding what kind of province they want in 15 years Stakeholders—best means to citizens’ ends, while treating their interests fairly  4.What is government prepared to anti up? Facilitate an open, informed discussion and act on the findings

25 Planners’ Group Round Table. Report Planners Group Report Stakeholders General Public Round Table

26 Question 5 Discussion  What does it mean for ownership to be shared? How can this be accomplished? How do we know when it’s achieved?  How does it change the way we think about accountability, ministerial roles, secrecy of discussion, media strategy?

27 Summary Points and The Two Big Issues

28 Summary Points  Public engagement is desirable not just for democratic reasons; in a complex world it is a condition of effective government and governance.  Government must learn to be a convener, facilitator, enabler and partner in the process.  The public is not a monolith, but a complex entity made up of different subgroups.  If the public is a complex entity, so is public dialogue.

29 Summary Points  A more ordered, coherent and disciplined public dialogue is necessary to achieve societal goals.  Internet tools can help governments extend the scope and reach of public engagement.  Public engagement requires strong leadership, but that leadership must work from the from the bottom-up, as well as the top-down.

30 The Floodgates Issue  Q.How do we avoid:  creating unrealistic expectations?  getting committed to goals that distract from other priorities?  projects we cannot afford?  initiatives that do not serve the public interest?

31 The Floodgates Issue  The process creates checks and balances:  as convener, government chooses the timing of the discussion, frames it and defines the process  as facilitator, it has the lead role in ensuring that the discussion is fair, reasonable and remains focused on the terms of reference  as a participant, it is free to say no to proposals put forward by others around the table  as a partner, it will negotiate written agreements setting out the roles and commitments of the relationship

32 The Political Leadership Issue  Q.Why will political leaders buy in?  Disciplines public debate  Reconnects them with the citizens and communities they represent  Clarifies roles in the governance process  Clarifies accountability  Makes real progress on societal goals more likely

33 Converging Goals  Through this model of public engagement, three key goals of better governance appear to be converging: Promoting more effective government and governance Strengthening civic participation and responsibility Defining and developing new forms of public leadership

34 The Crossing Boundaries Governance Program  a champion for the new model of public engagement;  it provides advice and assistance at the political and public service levels;  a centre of expertise for innovative approaches to governance; and  building a network of interested individuals and organizations

35 Conclusion  In a democracy, the most powerful voice is that of the people. The stronger and clearer it is, the harder it is for leaders to resist.  Right now our efforts to strengthen that voice rely on primitive processes and tools, but the future could be much brighter.  Still, better tools and processes are not enough. In the end, it really is all about cultural change…

36 The Crossing Boundaries Governance Program Public Policy Forum (613)


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