Minimum Engagement Standards

Establish and publish APS minimum standards for engagement.

min engage2

What it might look like: Standards would just encourage public servants to bring more humanity and common sense to their engagements – helping us see the public as a source of expertise; not as ‘stakeholders to be managed’.


Why the contribution is important

Some of the solutions to better engagement are using high tech digital tools, or using a fancy new framework. But sometimes the solution is really low tech customer service, like: Responding quickly to requests; explaining how feedback will be used; in fact, just adding a bit more humanity to our engagements. This isn’t often taught openly in the APS, but this Concept can help show public servants what the basic expectations are.

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  • Is this sending poor signals, implying that public servants aren’t getting the basics right, or are rude (which is overwhelmingly not the case)? If so, can that perception be managed?
  • Can you think of similar examples that have been successful? Why did they work?

by ProjectTeam on February 23, 2018 at 01:07PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.0
Based on: 6 votes


  • Posted by Tarek February 26, 2018 at 17:05

    This could be helpful if done in the right way, but to what extent does it overlap with the toolkit / resource predictor?
    If the standards were more than just information, but were enforceable, there would be interesting changes to incentives - who would enforce them? Perhaps the ANAO in its audit processes, or random APSC reporting?
    If there was buy-in to implement this, and it was publicized APS-wide, it could have a real impact.
  • Posted by milenaa February 26, 2018 at 17:10

    This idea could be useful when it comes to ticking the box of engagement - eg, engaging with representatives in each state and territory, engaging rural/regional/remote Australia. Identity and diversity could be another standard also but I am not sure how this would work generally, particularly if you're looking at a particular sample of the population (e,g users of a service, specific population group). I think public servants may assume or generally aim for these standards but don't have anything to refer to when it comes to applying them.
  • Posted by gkend February 26, 2018 at 20:28

    I think this could be useful for some people. A bit of a general comment as I'm reading through the ideas... I feel like some will appeal to some people more than others. But we all have different styles and ways of learning - so it makes sense that some people would get a lot out of a secondment, whereas others might hate that idea but really find a toolkit useful. The tricky thing is in finding the balance to have maximum impact...
  • Posted by Allison March 05, 2018 at 09:58

    Implement a standard evaluation framework (that covers both process and outcome indicators) - and set a minimum score that each project/agency must meet in order to be considered to have met the minimum standard. Ideally the evaluation process should be 360 degree - get perspectives from participants, non-participants, process implementers and decision-makers. Something objective, measurable and actionable.
  • Posted by Allison March 05, 2018 at 10:02

    Check out the Evaluation Framework I developed based on the United Nations Brisbane Declaration on Community Engagement a few years ago. Feel free to use this as a starting point if it is a useful:[…]/the-darzin-evaluation-framework
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