The County’s new “Six-Step Public Engagement Guide for Capital Projects” aims to strengthen engagement and communication processes across County government – for hundreds of capital projects both large and small.
Recognizing there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, the guide aligns the level of public engagement needed based on the characteristics, benefits and potential impacts of each project. The six-step process highlights how engagements should be planned, implemented and assessed.
“One of my strategic priorities was to increase the County’s level of engagement and transparency – and this guide affirms that commitment,” says County Manager Mark Schwartz. “Effective engagement helps build trust and makes it easier for residents to work with their government.”
Over the last year, the County Manager’s office worked with both internal and external stakeholders to develop the guide. And in the last month, hundreds of staff across the County have been trained on the new guide. Starting April 2, the guide will be applied to new capital projects just coming online. The County also will incorporate engagement levels into the next Capital Improvement Plan.
The guide identifies four types of engagement that can occur with capital projects:
- Communicate: keep community informed on project updates, changes, regulatory constraints and progress through the lifecycle of the project;
- Consult: keep community informed, listen to views and provide feedback on how the input influenced the project and/or decisions;
- Involve: share how concerns/views were reflected in analyses and/or solutions and designs developed; share how inputs influenced the final decision of project;
- Collaborate: seek community input in partnership with stakeholders.
The Six-Step Public Engagement Guide is only one of several new engagement initiatives, part of a larger public engagement action plan. Recently, County Manager Mark Schwartz and Civic Federation President Duke Banks held a series of conversations with civic and condo association presidents to explore better communication and coordination with their communities.
Watch a video presentation and discussion about the guide from the March 19 Board Meeting: