What It Is
a base map, and public involvement puts the roads on it.
Public involvement means public participation
in the decision process. It centers around effective two-way
communication among the partners, agencies,
organizations, and all the various stakeholders and interested publics. Enough
information is provided so that all parties can reach informed
conclusions and implement positive solutions. Because public
involvement means inviting publics to be involved in the solution,
it differs from public relations, information, or education.
Based on your action plan and
and the basic components listed below, develop a public
involvement plan to help get a handle
on the real needs, their importance,
- Perspective identification.
- Concerns or issues and the values placed upon them may
vary considerably. Public involvement provides a mechanism
for understanding different points of view. Understanding
the range of issues will help the team identify those which
can be included in the focus of the study and, equally important,
explain why others can't be considered.
- Affected publics.
- Affected publics are those people and organizations who
believe they might be impacted by a decision. The
size and composition of the public will be different for each
decision and will increase with controversy. There are a number
of ways people may see themselves affected or impacted, including:
proximity, economics, use, and value.
- Level of awareness.
- The decision process will provoke different levels of
awareness and interest with diverse publics
. It is essential to understand the
level of interest to effectively involve the right publics
at the right time.
- Conflict resolution.
- A public involvement program will identify potential
cooperating and opposing publics by looking at issues. Conflicting
issues will become apparent. The public involvement plan should
provide the means to identify common ground where adversarial
groups can work together to resolve as many conflicts as possible.
The team must develop strong supportable bases for any decision
made in a conflict arena.
- Internal communication.
All of your efforts to make elaborate plans to communicate
with and involve those outside Reclamation will do little good
if you can't communicate and involve those within! Don't assume
anything. Make sure all team members, management, and any other
Reclamation employees associated with your study knows what's
going on. Tell them what's going to happen. Tell them how and
when you're going to do it and what you expect to accomplish
by doing it. Do it! Report the results--if things change, tell