“Inform” is the first step on the IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation. For an effective and productive public dialogue, people need to be provided with “balanced and objective information to assist them in understanding the problems, alternatives and/or solutions”.
However, citizen engagement processes often involve complex policy issues which may include technical documents, jargon, and other specialized information. For example, municipal bylaws or architectural drawings can be inaccessible and confusing to individuals without specialized training or knowledge. When people are confused, they may feel intimidated, inadequate or unqualified to speak on a certain issue, and be deterred from participating.