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Public Participation

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Public participation is the engagement of individuals with the various structures and institutions of democracy, including voting, contacting a political representative, campaigning and lobbying, and taking part in consultations and demonstrations.

IAP2’s Public Participation Spectrum

The International Association for Public Participation (IAP2)’s Public Participation Spectrum sets out five roles that the public can have in decision making.


Increasing Impact of the Decision →


To provide the public with balanced and objective information to assist them in understanding the problem, alternatives, opportunities and/or solutions.



To obtain public feedback on analysis, alternatives and/or decisions.



To work directly with the public throughout the process to ensure that public concerns and aspirations are consistently understood and considered.



To partner with the public in each aspect of the decision including the development of alternatives and the identification of the preferred solution.



To place final decision making in the hands of the public.



We will keep you informed.



We will keep you informed, listen to and acknowledge concerns and aspirations, and provide feedback on how public input influenced the decision.



We will work with you to ensure that your concerns and aspirations are directly reflected in the alternatives developed and provide feedback on how public input influenced the decision.



We will look to you for advice and innovation in formulating solutions and incorporate your advice and recommendations into the decisions to the maximum extent possible.



We will implement what you decide.



Reproduced with permission from IAP2.

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