Skip to main content

Commitment 5 progress report: 31 December 2020

Open Government Partnership New Zealand National Action Plan 2018-2021

Progress report for: Oct – December 2020

Commitment 5: Public participation in policy development

Lead agency: The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC)

Objective: DPMC will assist the New Zealand public sector to develop a deeper and more consistent understanding of what good engagement with the public means (right across the International Association of Public Participation’s (IAP2’s) spectrum of public participation).

Ambition: New Zealanders increasingly experience a timelier and collaborative approach to public participation when policies are developed, and consider their concerns, diversity of views, life experience, and time are valued in the policy process. Improvements in public participation can result in better design of policy and services and increase their legitimacy.  Improving public participation requires an informed approach to applying public participation methods throughout the policy development process. Developing a deeper understanding of what good engagement looks like and providing guidance about best practice methods across government, will achieve a more consistent and coherent approach to public participation.

OGP values: Civic participation

Current Milestones

Milestone 1

Extend existing Policy Methods Toolbox guidance on public participation ( ) to include:

(i)   A design tool that will assist policy advisers to choose the appropriate level of engagement on the IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation for a specific policy issue

(ii)   Guidance, for each level of the IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation, on the characteristics and enablers of effective public participation and good engagement practice

(iii)  Guidance on inclusive engagement approaches that include and reflect the diversity of those interested and affected by policies

(iv)  Principles and concepts of community engagement in policy development

(v)   Guidance on building government agencies’ organisational capability and readiness for community engagement

(vi)  Guidance on different types of community engagement methods, and their appropriateness for each level on the IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation

Start/End dates: October 2018/October 2020

Progress: Completed

Milestone 2

Develop and share recent case studies documenting New Zealand innovation success stories in public participation in the policy development process

Start/End dates: October 2018/October 2020

Progress: Completed

Milestone 3

Identify a ‘live’ policy issue in which to trial public engagement in policy development that is higher on the public participation spectrum than inform or consult, as a demonstration project

Start/End dates: October 2018/December 2020

Progress: Completed

Milestone 4

Widely disseminate the results of the above actions

Start/End dates: December 2020/June 2021

Progress: underway

Revision of milestones following extension of timeframe

As mentioned in our last quarterly report, with the extension of the NAP3 timeframe until June 2021, the Policy Project extended the delivery times and scope of its original milestones. The revised set of milestones with timelines for delivery have been incorporated in the section above.

The new components added to the original milestone 1 to further extend the existing Policy Methods Toolbox public participation guidance are the following resources:

  • Principles and concepts of community engagement in policy making.
  • Guidance on building organisational capability and readiness for community engagement.
  • Guidance on selecting community engagement methods.

What we have been doing

In the period since the last report the Policy Project has completed milestones 1, 2 and 3. Specifically we have:

  • Finalised and published a revised community engagement section (previously known as the public participation section) of the Policy Methods Toolbox within the Policy Project web pages on the DPMC website – refer This is the online access point for all the previous and new community engagement guidance resources.
  • Published a new Policy Project webpage outlining DPMC’s involvement overall in OGP National Action Plans – refer
  • Finalised and published resources and tools to fulfil the original objectives of milestone 1, namely:
  • Finalised and published three further community engagement resources in the Policy Methods Toolbox (in line with the extensions to milestone 1 referred to above), namely:
  • Prior to publication we tested the engagement resources and tools mentioned above with our reference group and where appropriate consulted with key government agencies undertaking or involved in community engagement with population groups.
  • Developed and shared recent case studies documenting New Zealand innovation success stories in public participation in the policy development process to fulfil milestone 2. In particular we:
  • Finalised and published the write up of the ‘live’ Demonstration Project Report on the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy and Action Plan to fulfil milestone 3, which demonstrates good community engagement at ‘involve’ on the IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation. Refer
  • Applied the results of three surveys to development of the engagement resources and began preparing a write up of the engagement results to be shared with those who participated in the survey, and to include on the new OGP page in the next quarter.
  • Commenced dissemination of the resources developed for milestones 1 – 3 including by:
    • forwarding links to the published resources to the Reference Group, and EAP members who participated in reviewing the resources
    • Including an article about the community engagement resources and how to access them online in the Policy Project quarterly newsletter sent to all policy managers and all principal policy advisors in the public service
    • reporting to the Policy Profession Board on the OGP Commitment 5 work, and provided links to the community engagement resources
    • the Deputy Chief Executive (Policy) of DPMC sending the resources to all members of the Tier 2 Policy Leaders’ Network (Deputy Chief Executives (Policy) across the public service) – asking them to encourage use by their policy staff and asking agencies to place links to them on their intranets
    • arranging with the Cabinet Office to include a link to the community engagement resources from the CabGuide
    • the Programme Director of the Policy Project reminding Tier 2 Policy Leaders’ Network members about the availability and scope of the resources at her annual 1:1 meetings with them
    • meeting with the Reference Group to discuss the final versions of the resources, and next steps for their dissemination in 2021.
  • Met the OGP Independent Reporter on the New Zealand Open Government Partnership National Action Plan to discuss progress in meeting Commitment 5 milestones.

What’s next?

In the quarter ending March 2021, we will further progress milestone 4 to further disseminate the community engagement resources. Specifically, we will:

  • Complete the write up of the survey results used to help shape the guidance and publish on our website, and also send to participants and agencies for their information.
  • Continue to disseminate the resources by profiling them at individual meetings with agencies and with public sector networks, including the Policy Training Network.
  • Continue to raise the profile of each guidance resource (including the Demonstration Project as an example of ‘involving’ the public in policy making) using social media and traditional public sector publications.
  • Hold a Policy Forum on community engagement for policy managers and principal advisors to raise awareness of the resources and showcase case studies of community engagement.
  • Explore the potential to carry out an event or events on community engagement with the International Association of Public Participation Australasia and/or a New Zealand public sector organisation, such as the Institute of Public Administration New Zealand.
  • Encourage policy agencies to pilot the use of the Community Engagement Design Tool to determine which level on the IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation to adopt for engagement on policy development for a specific issue, and to follow the results of its application.
  • Meet with organisers of the New Zealand Community and Stakeholder Engagement Symposium scheduled for 24th and 25th May in Auckland, to organise speaking at the event about the community engagement resources.