My vision for meaningful engagement is to create a process for citizens that re-establishes trust, and empowers and incorporates diverse and missing voices, in the hopes of strengthening communities by bringing the elephant out of the room. Engagement has sometimes become a catch phrase for public sector organizations to get validation of their projects and policies for decision makers. As a former public servant, I have witnessed first-hand the growth and reliance on public practitioners to deliver a ‘positive’ outcome. I have observed that public practitioners, and elements of the IAP2 engagement process have been used to validate policies and procedures after they have been finalized, rather than using authentic engagement to meaningful guide their development.
There is no doubt that the field is growing and citizens will require public entities to demonstrate far greater transparency and authentic engagement. In a post-covid era, many systems will be challenged and there is an opportunity for IAP2 to strategically position itself as the leader of meaningful engagement.
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