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Assessing Public Engagement Effectiveness: Rapid Review Worksheets

While there is a growing body of literature and experience about how to engage the public, there are few practical tools to gauge the success of these approaches. Recognizing that local officials and staff have limited time and resources, the Institute for Local Government has created online Rapid Review Worksheets to help local governments assess how well their public engagement processes worked. Learn more and download the worksheets at www.ca-ilg.org/rapidreview.

The Need for Assessing Public Engagement

Local officials are increasingly using a wide range of public engagement strategies to help them inform, consult with and deliberatively engage residents on topics such as land use, budgeting, housing, sustainability, health and environment, public safety and much more.

Typically, cities and counties devote a great deal of time and effort to the planning and delivery of public engagement processes. However, given the press of daily responsibilities, local officials often spend relatively little time assessing how these processes worked for the local agency and the community.

The assessment of local agency-sponsored public engagement is important as it enables local officials and others to gauge participant satisfaction, identify lessons learned, and make refinements and improvements in future efforts. These assessments can be helpful for public engagement efforts that are developed and delivered directly by a local agency as well as when they are managed and facilitated by consultants.

How these Rapid Review Worksheets Can Help

While there is a growing body of literature and experience about how to engage the public, there are few practical tools to gauge the success of these approaches. Recognizing that local officials and staff have limited time and resources, the Institute for Local Government has created these online Rapid Review Worksheets to help local governments assess how well their public engagement processes worked.

Through the use of these Rapid Review Worksheets, a local agency that has sponsored, organized and/or convened a public engagement process or activity can collect information from both participants and relevant local officials. The goal is to gauge the relative success of the process just completed and to guide improvements to future engagement activities.

A Guide to Upfront Process Planning
These Rapid Review Worksheets can also be useful at the public engagement planning stage. An early review of the questions contained in the worksheets can help guide the planning and design of the engagement process as well as ensure that the design and purposes of the engagement process match up with what the agency plans to evaluate.

This publication is being developed by the Institute for Local Government, the nonprofit research and education affiliate of the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties (CSAC). More information can be found at www.ca-ilg.org/rapidreview.

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