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Public Consultation

A CLEAR View of Effective Digital Engagement

Flickr image courtesy of The Thai Digital Community

Flickr image courtesy of The Thai Digital Community

Evaluating the effectiveness of a digital engagement exercise shouldn’t be an afterthought. To help ensure that your process is successful and you gathering the quality and type of input you are seeking, you need to plan ahead.  Indeed, you should be thinking about how easy your desired participants will be able to engage in your process as it is being developed.

One model for determining whether public participation will be effective or not was posted to the newly launched Digital Engagement Cookbook site out of the UK.  The site is a great overview of the myriad of new opportunities that the digital world offers for engaging with residents and citizens. While it doesn’t include mention of  PlaceSpeak, yet 😉  we suggest you take a look at the wide range of tools and tactics included on the site.

This model, called the CLEAR framework is useful to determine when participation is most effective.  It asks 5 short simple questions to help ensure that your participants are engaged successfully.

In short, the  CLEAR framework posits  that participation is most effective where citizens:

  • C an do – have the resources and knowledge to participate.
  • L ike to – have a sense of attachment that reinforces participation.
  • E nabled to – are provided with the opportunity for participation.
  • A sked to – are mobilized through public agencies and civic channels.
  • R esponded to – see evidence that their views have been considered.

Getting people to participate is not a simple task.  This model helps consultation practitioners to reflect on their current activities and analyse the obstacles to engaging participants and how they might be overcome. If you can ensure that your public consultations can successfully answer each of these questions from the outset, you are much more likely to have a successful engagement process.

You can find more details about the CLEAR model in this document from the De Montfort University Local Governance Research Unit. The report goes into much more detail about how each of the five factors impacts public participation and how consultations processes can be set up to maximize success.


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