Use of best practices in engagement performed by skilled facilitators is essential for informed decision-making and sustained success.
Stakeholder and Public Engagement
Stakeholder and public engagement involves the inclusion of parties affected by a decision in the decision-making process. These practices help to:
- Communicate decision-making processes
- Enhance decision-makers’ understanding of diverse opinions
- Identify options not previously considered
- Discover unintended consequences of an action
- Enhance public acceptance of a decision
- Improve trust and credibility through transparency and inclusion
When public engagement is mandated for a U.S. federal regulations development process by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), policymakers must ensure they are responsive to all input from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The lead federal government agency must publish the proposed regulation in the Federal Register, specify a review period, and directly respond to all substantive commenters after careful consideration of how their feedback can be incorporated into the regulatory development process and outputs. Additionally, it must effectively communicate its decision-making process to all interested parties.
The GTSI team is well versed in legal requirements for public review and comment and can work closely with U.S. Federal Government agencies to fulfill and exceed legal requirements for public input.
When public engagement is not required by law, the GTSI team works with clients to:
- Identify stakeholders
- Articulate goals of engagement efforts
- Develop an appropriate public engagement plan
- Plan, promote, and implement public engagement activities
- Summarize results of public engagement efforts
- Make recommendations for inclusion of public engagement results into organizational decision-making processes
Our team members have extensive experience with a broad range of engagement methods including survey design and administration; focus groups; semi-structured interviews; public meetings; workshops; roundtable discussions; virtual meetings; and public comment review, organization, summary, and response drafting. Our team also has experience engaging individuals from marginalized and disadvantaged groups.
GTSI team members have facilitated public comment response in regulation development (such as national water quality regulations) as well as formal and informal stakeholder engagement, most recently in conjunction with development of the South Africa domestic offsets standards framework, the City of Bloomington Sustainability Action Plan, ongoing work with the U.S. Federal Government, and the Community Voices for Health in Monroe County project.