Public Engagement Publications & Resources
The Institute offers a variety of publications and resources to help local officials more effectively apply public engagement processes and strategies. This includes detailed guides as well as shorter pieces that hit the main points of a topic, as well as rosters of California youth commissions and citizen academies. These resources are found in the first two sections below.
Also find below a list of resources from other organizations, including guides to achieving successful public engagement.
Institute guides available for purchase or free download:
- A Local Official’s Guide to Working with Clergy and Congregations. This publication describes approaches to enhance working relationships with clergy and congregations that can deepen and diversify public engagement, extend local agency outreach, and support public services.
- A Local Official’s Guide to Public Engagement in Budgeting. The guide draws on examples of public engagement in city and county budgeting throughout California and describes six general approaches that local agencies use, often in strategic combination, to involve residents in the budget process.
- A Local Official’s Guide to Immigrant Civic Engagement. The guide is designed to help local officials and staff design and implement inclusive civic participation processes that recognize, inform and engage their community’s immigrant residents and their families.
- Planning Public Forums: Questions to Guide Local Officials. Practical steps to help local agencies build their capacity to use public forums effectively.
- Getting the Most Out of Public Hearings: A Guide to Improve Public Involvement. This twelve-page pamphlet provides practical ideas for making public hearings more effective forums for participants and public officials alike.
- Building Public Support for Affordable Housing: A Toolbox for California Officials (2007)(formatted for the Web)
Shorter Institute pieces available for free download include the following:
- What is Public Engagement – Definitions of terms used to describe public engagement to help draw distinctions among the various ways people can become involved.
- Why Engage the Public? – Description of positive potential outcomes from successfully engaging residents in local decision making.
- Principles of Local Government Public Engagement – Ten principles to serve as helpful indicators of effective and ethical public engagement practice by local governments.
- Dealing with Deeply Held Concerns and Other Challenges to Public Engagement Processes – Differences of opinion about land use plans, budgets, employee pensions and other topics can generate strongly held concerns and emotions by community residents and groups. This paper helps local agencies to design and prepare public engagement processes that are effective, responsive and civil – even when participants hold very strong views.
- Three Orientations of Local Government to Public Engagement: Passive – Active - Sustaining – Working from less to more of a “sustaining” commitment to public engagement, this paper can help communities to be more aware of their present public engagement efforts and to suggest approaches that embed public participation into local decision-making.
- Planning Public Involvement: Key Questions for Local Officials – A quick overview of important points that can make or break effective civic engagement.
- Beyond the Usuals: Ideas To Encourage Broader Public Participation In Your Community – An overview of ideas that can assist in making civic engagement efforts more inclusive and representative of your community.
- Ten Ideas to Encourage Immigrant Engagement – A quick overview of ideas from throughout California that may help local officials to more successfully engage immigrant residents.
- Responding to Emotions and Conflicts in Public Hearings – Seven approaches to responding to emotions and conflicts in public hearings.
- Collaborative Strategies for Day Labor Centers - This guide will assist local officials, immigrant-serving organizations, day labor center planners and leaders, and others to understand how collaborative relationships, partnerships and processes can assist in the successful development and operations of a day labor center.
- Understanding SB 375: Opportunities to Engage the Public in Regional Planning - This guide offers local officials an overview of the benefits and opportunities for effective and inclusive public engagement in regional transportation planning in California, especially with regard to the preparation of sustainable communities strategies required by SB 375.
- Understanding SB 375: Public Participation Requirements – This guide describes the minimum requirements regional and local agencies must meet in developing their transportation and housing plans under SB 375.
- Emergency Preparedness in the Neighborhood: Engaging Residents as Partners in Disaster Planning and Response - Groups of residents on the SF Peninsula are organizing at the neighborhood level to work with local governments and prepare themselves for emergencies.
- How to Harness the Power of Your Community to Address Climate Change. Suggestions, examples, and resources for local officials to involve residents and businesses to address climate change. (Prepared in collaboration with the Institute’s climate change program.)
- Measuring the Success of Local Government Public Engagement – This tip sheet suggests four different public engagement outcomes that local officials can review to assess their public engagement efforts as well as questions that can be asked during the review process.
- Assessing Public Engagement Effectiveness: Rapid Review Worksheets - Through the use of these Rapid Review Worksheets, a local agency that has sponsored, organized and/or convened a public engagement process or activity can collect information from both participants and relevant local officials. The goal is to gauge the relative success of the process just completed and to guide improvements to future engagement activities.
- Working Effectively with Public Engagement Consultants: Tips for Local Officials – This tip sheet offers recommendations to help guide local officials in the best use of public engagement consultants.
Language Access Laws and Legal
Issues: A Local Official’s Guide
Explains the laws that require language access in order to ensure that limited English-proficient residents have access to public benefits and services and an opportunity to participate in public life.
- Eleven Tips to Improve Public Engagement on Realignment Issues - An important part of the success of the Public Safety Realignment Act is an informed, engaged and supportive public.
- Youth Commissions List – List of local government youth commissions and related youth engagement organizations in California.
- Resource List of Citizen, Police & Leadership Academies in California – A resource list of citizen, police and other leadership academies in California.
- Working Effectively with Local Officials – Here are practical strategies for working successfully with local elected officials and staff.
- Preparing for Public Hearings – A short description of public hearings and ways to make participation more effective.
Other public engagement organizations and resources:
- Guides to Public Engagement – The list, compiled by the Institute for Local Government, is intended to help county and city officials design and use public engagement to address local issues and controversies.
- Collaborative Governance Resources – A list of organizations in California and nationally that offer public involvement-related information, materials and/or direct assistance.