There are six public engagement principles. The principles are of equal importance. They underpin the design and delivery of all Victorian government public engagement.
Public Engagement Principles
The process of public engagement is genuine and informs the final decision. In practice this looks like:
- The purpose and objectives are clear and shared with the public
- The public has adequate time, resources and opportunities to provide feedback before decision-making
- The public can take part in decisions that affect their lives
- Decision-makers consider the views of the public.
The engagement is respectful, inclusive and accessible. In practice this looks like:
- The engagement design is human-centred and enables the full participation of all who wish to be involved
- Asking the individual or group how they would like to participate and designing the process accordingly
- Offering a number of ways that the public can engage
- The public has opportunities to influence the problem definition.
The engagement is clear and open about what the public can and cannot influence. In practice this looks like:
- Sharing background information about the project and the process for the engagement.
- Explaining why some decisions can be influenced by the engagement, while others cannot.
- Communicating the level of influence the public has in the decision-making process.
- Seeking diverse opinions to build a greater understanding of the broad range of community views and values.
The engagement provides relevant and timely information to the public. In practice this looks like:
- Promoting the opportunity to take part in the engagement
- Communicating accessible, relevant, tailored and timely information
- Giving the public the knowledge and time to provide informed contributions
- Providing clarity about the role of the engagement in the broader project - this includes how contributions will be considered and any relevant legislation and standards.
The engagement is high quality and responsive to the public. In practice this looks like:
- Planning must ensure that the purpose, scope and objectives are clear. Engagement risks must be understood and mitigated.
- Communications provide pathways for questions and feedback from the public.
- Safety plans, privacy, security and data storage/management protections are in place and communicated.
- The VPS Values underpin the actions and behaviours of public engagement staff.
- Concerns or requests from the public are addressed.
- Participants are advised how their input affected/or did not affect, the decision at the end of an engagement.
- Public engagement is measured and reported on to support continuous improvement.
The engagement creates value for the community and government. This can include social, economic and environmental value. In practice this looks like:
- Drawing on local knowledge and experience. Creating improved outcomes for community and government.
- Valuing participants and their time. In some instances, community members may be reimbursed for their time or supported to enable full participation. This may include transport, accommodation, child-minding and/or catering.
- Supporting government to understand and represent their community and inform decision-making.
- Building value for participants in the process. This may occur through the social impact of informing, empowering and enabling people to be part of changes that benefit their communities.