Free Guides for Governments to Engage with Civic Communities
26 August 2016,
The subject of civic engagement is a fascinating one. It involves technology as a driver, but also depends on softer aspects such as planning, implementation, and feedback to improve the process of engagement.
Not all means of civic engagement are digital, though the digital proportion is increasing globally.
According to the Accenture Survey: Currently, US respondents are willing to use the Internet, or phone, to initiate interactions with the government, with decreases in non-digital interactions expected in the future. They also prefer to use the Internet and postal mail for tracking and payment purposes, but will likely decrease their use of postal mail in the future.
With the rise of mobile telephones and social media, the opportunities for citizens to talk about political issues, support causes, and engage in digital activism is gaining momentum. Their participation in local government is also increasing.
Our focus here is on how local, state and federal governments can use technology and toolkits to improve their efficiencies in serving citizens and other stakeholders.
This article touches briefly on technology and focuses in detail on the rest of the processes that make for efficient engagement with stakeholders.
The questions we asked ourselves at the time of research were:
Are there proven, tested citizen engagement models that civic officials can follow?
Are there techniques and templates that local government officials can use, or trigger ideas with?
Are there any best practices in civic engagement that will allow for quick assimilation and action, for officials?
Surprisingly, there is a wealth of information on this subject online in terms of guides, toolkits, and templates. These guides and toolkits are from governments across the world, and a good reference from any government.
The Technology for Civic Engagement
The technology for civic engagement is available in AMANDA, the versatile Case Management System for governments, from CSDC Systems.
With AMANDA, civic officials at all levels of government can use an off-the-shelf, fully configurable technology to rapidly provide both web, and mobile-based access to citizens for a variety of functions and processes - Permits & Compliances, Licences, Freedom of Information, Property Tax, Asset Management, and Courts & Justice.
Our first stop is at Digital Engagement, where the Techniques, Strategies, Examples, and Questions for engagement in the Public Sector, are covered in great detail.
The ideas are from all over the world. There is information on social media for local governments, blogging for the public sector, managing online reputation, content strategy and templates for action, training, education, and more.
The Government of Queensland offers a guide to Engaging Queenslanders. This guide explores the community engagement methods and techniques that assist public officials at all levels, to choose the most appropriate community engagement process.
Strengths and weaknesses of the techniques are summarised to support better decisions.
A broad spectrum of community engagement techniques is used by clients and other agencies to engage with citizens and stakeholders.
Some of these are designed specifically to share information or to elicit views and opinions. Others aim to effectively involve people in government planning, decision-making, service delivery, and evaluation.