Step 6 - Determine how public participation is to support and link to the decision.

Public participation efforts support decision-making when they provide timely information at key decision points. Knowing what information should flow to maintain dialogue to the level promised is a significant challenge.

A decision-maker needs to consider:

  • the milestones or key decision points of the project;
  • the objectives to be achieved for each milestone; and
  • the process of participating with the public.

The following table illustrates the links between the steps of a generic decision-making process, the public participation objective for each and possible tools to support each milestone.

Steps in Decision Making Process Objectives of Participation Examples of Participation Tools
Identify the problem and decision needed To understand background and decision to be made Press release, website announcement
Undertake research To receive information about issues to be addressed Issue paper, presentation
Establish decision parameters/performance objectives To understand decision parameters and performance objectives Open house, public meeting
Develop options To discuss issues and concerns about contribute to potential solutions Workshops, online forums
Evaluate options To receive feedback on options Survey, telephone interviews
Decide To communicate decision and how participation inputs were used Letter, website announcement

Source: International Association of Public Participation