Citizens Advice Scotland is today publishing a new guide for how organisations can take the public with them when planning new building developments or other activities. Based on joint research carried out with Scottish Water and the Customer Forum, the CAS report captures the components of best practice community engagement, which we believe should be at the centre of organisations’ community engagement policy and practice.
The research found that good engagement must:
- Be inclusive, accessible and representative;
- Ensure communities are fully involved in engagement programmes as early as possible;
- Establish communities’ trust and confidence in engagement programmes;
- Tailor engagement methods to individual communities;
- Be flexible to respond to and incorporate community ideas and needs.
In addition, organisations must:
- Fully commit to delivering engagement programmes that genuinely enable communities to influence decision making;
- Scope engagement programmes in detail to allocate appropriate time, finance and staff resources;
- Engage external expertise where appropriate;
- Evaluate the impact of the engagement;
- Evidence to the community how their input has influenced decision making and outcomes.