Making Promises

At the heart of every public participation process is a promise to the public. This promise sets out what the public can expect from the organisation in terms of access to and potential influence on the decision. The promise also defines the level of information and communication to be expected. Organisations that make clear, explicit commitments will set clear expectations with their stakeholders and will be held accountable accordingly. Without clear promises, the public will have a multitude of expectations, many of which are unintended by the organisation and will thus remain unfulfilled.

When organisations make promises, it is important to consider and follow through on these aspects, they should: –

  • Only promise what they believe they can deliver
  • Deliver what they promised
  • Demonstrate what they deliver by communicating effectively.

The Importance of Transparency

Transparency represents the willingness of an organisation to share with the public appropriate information, criteria, and deliberations for decision-making. Without transparency, public input and contributions will not be based on the same reasoning and/or considerations use by an organisation’s decision-makers. As a result, the public is unlikely to understand why decisions are being made or how those decisions will affect them. Much public outrage stems from the failure to provide complete and timely information, or from being excluded from the process.