IAP2 Core Values – Do We Need A Refresh?



  1. Public participation is based on the belief that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.
  2. Public participation includes the promise that the public’s contribution will influence the decision.
  3. Public participation promotes sustainable decisions by recognising and communicating the needs and interests of all participants, including decision makers.
  4. Public participation seeks out and facilitates the involvement of those potentially affected by or interested in a decision.
  5. Public participation seeks input from participants in designing how they participate.
  6. Public participation provides participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way.
  7. Public participation communicates to participants how their input affected the decision.

Source: The International Association for Public Participation – IAP2 Federation


The IAP2 Core Values along with the IAP2 Code of Ethics are designed to give engagement practitioners a set of clear operating guidelines and what constitutes best practice in engagement. The values have served us well in practice and challenged us to deliver engagement that can meet these ideals. But, to me, there is one burning question and that is ‘do we need a refresh?’

As we move rapidly through the 21st century, it is clear that the definition of engagement is changing. Particularly in our far-flung outposts like Australia and New Zealand, our citizens are taking the proverbial bull by the horns and sometimes (gasp) even engaging without those of us working for, or on behalf of, organisations. This has meant that the world of engagement as we knew it has changed, so the way we operate needs to change with it. No longer can we assume that the engagement will always be conducted by an organisation seeking feedback in some way.

So with this in mind IAP2’s core values are an excellent basis for behaviour for practitioners who work for organisations as it gives strong guidelines of how to manage and indeed champion a process that is fair and equitable and help to balance any power inequality. But what I really want to know is do these values have the same impact if a community group is advocating for change via an engagement process? Would they hold these up as fundamental to managing a fair and equitable process, or is there something that we are missing?

It’s all food for thought, but for me the question is: if we recognise that engagement is changing are we at a stage where we need to consider reviewing our fundamental values as engagement practitioners?