Principles of Engagement
Broad principles underpin engagement and a practical knowledge and adaptation of these will increase the effectiveness of your engagement activities. In a review of existing literature and theory, Petts and Leach1 developed a list of engagement principles which includes:
- a need for clarity of objectives, and of legal, linked and seamless processes
- consensus on agenda, procedures and effectiveness
- representativeness and inclusiveness
- capability and social learning
- decision responsiveness
- transparency and enhancement of trust.
- A commitment to reciprocity that includes stating what you require of the community, and delivery of what you will provide in exchange. Establish what you are promising as part of the engagement process. This could include provision of information or feedback on how contributions have influenced decisions, through to implementation of stakeholder decisions.
- Genuineness in building relationships with community and other stakeholders.
- Valuing the opportunities that diversity has to offer.
|The Six ‘C’s of Successful Community Engagement|
|Capability||The members are capable of dialogue.|
|Commitment||Mutual benefit beyond self interest.|
|Contribution||Members volunteer and there is an environment that encourages members to ‘have a go’ or take responsibility/risks.|
|Continuity||Members share or rotate roles and, as members move on, there is a transition process that sustains and maintains the community corporate memory.|
|Collaboration||Reliable interdependence. A clear vision with members operating in an environment of sharing and trust.|
|Conscience||Embody or invoke guiding principles/ethics of service, trust and respect that are expressed in the actions of the community.|
Note: the six Cs may be seen as targets or filters to measure the quality of the functioning of the community.
1 Petts, J & Leach, B (2000) ‘Evaluating methods for public participation: a literature review’, R & D technical report, E135, Environment Agency, Bristol
2 Brown, J & Isaacs, D (1994) ‘Merging the best of two worlds the core processes of organisations as communities’ in P Senge, A Kleiner, C Roberts, R Ross & B Smith (eds.) The fifth discipline fieldbook: strategies and tools for building a learning organization, Doubleday/Currency Publications