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TIERS Public Engagement Framework


T.I.E.R.S. Public Engagement Framework

T.I.E.R.S. Public Engagement Framework

The Institute for Local Government has developed a five pillar framework any local government can use to plan and execute public engagement efforts.

The T.I.E.R.S. Public Engagement Framework and its companion T.I.E.R.S. Training, provide a step-by-step approach to public engagement at any level. For more information about ILG’s T.I.E.R.S. Training please contact



Step 1: Self-Assessment

Step 2: Consider Public Engagement Approach

Step 3: Contemplate Community Landscape

  • Create or update a list of local community based organizations (CBOs) and others to inform outreach efforts
  • Identify diverse locations to hold meetings with target audiences in mind
  • TIERS Community Landscape Template

Additional Resources



Step 1: Develop Public Engagement Approach

Step 2: Develop Outreach Plan

  • Create an Outreach Plan
    • Consider what you know from your ‘community landscape’ listing; who you are trying to reach, how much time and money is available
    • TIERS Outreach Template

Step 3: ‘Reality Check’ 

  • Are there local, state or federal laws or regulations you need to consider?
  • Are there internal organizational ‘politics’ or challenges to take into consideration? 
  • Are there larger ‘Political’ issues to keep in mind? 
    • For example: Is there an upcoming election? A significant recent incident?

Additional Resources



Step 1: Implement Outreach Plan

  • Implement your plan, prioritizing outreach 
  • Ensure targeted audiences are represented (authentically) within your plan
    • Double check with local leaders to ensure authentic voices are reached

Step 2: Implement Public Engagement Approach

Step 3: ‘Reality Check’

  • Are there internal organizational ‘politics’ or challenges that have changed and need to be considered? 
  • Check in with key community leaders on a regular basis to understand new or coming issues; mitigate accordingly 

Additional Resources



Step 1: Evaluate Public Engagement Approach

  • What worked? What could have gone better?
  • Is training needed for any staffers in order to execute more effectively in the future? (e.g. facilitation skills; graphic design; survey question construction; meeting design)

Step 2: Evaluate Outreach Plan

  • What worked? What could have gone better? 
  • Is training needed for any staffers in order to execute more effectively in the future? (e.g. challenging people; communications skills; small group facilitation)
  • Are there community leaders who the agency should build stronger ties with? 

Step 3: What Barriers Did You Overcome?

  • What internal organizational barriers did you overcome?
  • What other political barriers did you overcome? 

Additional Resources



Step 1: Internal Organizational 

  • Consider beneficial organizational shifts
    • For example: public engagement assigned within job description(s); commitment to train electeds and staff in public engagement policy and/or skills; ongoing communication strategies that go beyond traditional methods such as ethnic media
    • Send out periodic surveys to understand satisfaction with public engagement related efforts and policies
    • Ask for help when needed from organizations like ILG and/or consultants

Step 2: External- Your Community

  • Consider beneficial shifts in external relations
    • For example: set and track metrics related to in-person and phone meetings with diverse and underrepresented community members, choose time bound goals; engage with local leadership programs 

Step 3: Policy Change 

  • Consider policy review/change/adoption 
    • Commitment to review public engagement related policies if they have not been systematically reviewed in the last ten years
    • Adopt a resolution demonstrating commitment to public engagement

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