Public Engagement: Building Institutional Capacity
Across OECD governments, there is a growing trend towards inclusive policy making whereby a broad range of citizens and groups are involved in decision-making processes—or in other words, public engagement. In contrast to closed-off and technocratically-driven policy development, public engagement broadens the number of voices heard in any policy decision and democratizes the process. This paper presents a primer to public engagement with a focus on how it is best structured within a bureaucracy. Throughout it is argued that: i) public relations and communications are functions of public engagement; ii) providing the appropriate structures and processes for the organized decentralization of public engagement expertise within ministries can be the foundation for participatory policy making and; iii) centralized coordination within the bureaucracy is a necessary component of such structures and processes.