Ways of engaging

This proposes four key ways in which the APS engages with the broader community in order to create a shared understanding a common language

It is important to note that one way of engaging with the wider community is not, in and of itself, better than another. It is not better to collaborate than to share information.  The relative merit of the different approach is determined by how well the approach will assist the APS to engage the expertise they need to solve the particular problem they face and the constraints under which they operate.

Does government need to tell the public about a government initiative? People receive information about a government program or decision in an accessible way. Communication is one-way from the government to the public.

For example Business.gov.au provides information to businesses on grants and funding that is available and the process for applying.

The APS shares information through the media, social media, websites, forums and networks, and peak bodies.

Does government need to gather feedback from the public about a problem? People have an opportunity to weigh-in and provide their input. Participants advocate for their views on a subject. 

Seeking submissions on an issues paper is a highly utilised example of a consultative approach.

Does government need help‎ from the public to frame or solve a problem? People help identify the issue and/or develop a strategy that the government commits to deliver. Participants take part in varying degrees to find common ground and collectively arrive at an agreement.

Does government ‎need help from the public to find and implement a solution? People work with government to define an issue, develop and deliver solutions. Participants share decision-making and implementation of solutions.


Why the contribution is important

While there are no universal public participation and engagement approaches, there is value in creating a shared understanding and language about how we engage.  The research in the Discover phase utilised the Ontario Provincial Government’s framework descriptions as a lens through which to assess and understand what was occurring in the Australian Public Service.  While all of the frameworks and approaches to public participation offer inspiration, our experience of using the Ontario Framework suggests it is well suited to the APS and it clearly resonated with the people we worked with inside and outside the APS. 

by ProjectTeam on April 13, 2018 at 01:16PM

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