Beyond Decision Making in Community Engagement

So you’ve done your community engagement. The public is happy. They’ve been heard, influenced and perhaps collaborated in or empowered the decision making.

Then what?

Community engagement has long been focused on how to involve the community in decision making. It is rightly based on the belief that by involving the community and stakeholders in decision making, we can get better decisions.

But if we end there, we’ve ended prematurely.

Decision implementation in community engagement

Surely a decision itself is not enough. Surely, the test of a better decision is how well it is implemented.

The community engagement profession must look at what happens beyond the decision. Who implements that decision? What role does the community play in implementation?

In Australasia, we are starting to see recognition that engagement must go from decision making – as defined by who and how decisions are made – to decision implementation.

Just how well we plan for community involvement in actions rather than only decisions is just as important for our profession.

This is a fundamental principle of the new Australasian Certificate of Engagement, developed by Amanda Newbery, Michelle Feenan and Anne Pattillo.