U.S. Public Participation Playbook

A resource for government managers to effectively evaluate and build better services through public participation.
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    What is the U.S. Public Participation Playbook?

    The U.S. Public Participation Playbook is a resource for government managers to effectively evaluate and build better services through public participation using best practices and performance metrics.

    Public participation—where citizens help shape and implement government programs—is a foundation of open, transparent, and engaging government services. From emergency management, town hall discussions and regulatory development to science and education, better engagement with those who use public services can measurably improve those services for everyone.

    Developing a U.S. Public Participation Playbook is an open government priority included in both the first and second U.S. Open Government National Action Plans as part of the United States effort to increase public integrity in government programs. This resource reflects the commitment of the government and civic partners to measurably improve participation programs, and is designed using the same inclusive principles that it champions.

    How is the playbook structured?

    We needed to create a resource that combines best practices and suggested performance metrics for public servants to use to evaluate and build better services — to meet this need, based on discussions with federal managers and stakeholders, we identified five main categories that should be addressed in all programs, whether digital or offline. Within each category we identified 12 unifying plays to start with, each including a checklist to consider, resources and training. We then provide suggested performance metrics for each main category.

    This is only the beginning, however, and we hope the plays will quickly expand and enrich. The U.S. Public Participation Playbook was not just designed for a more open government — it was designed collaboratively through a more open government.

    How was the playbook developed?

    The U.S. Public Participation Playbook was created in an unprecedented collaboration of seventy federal managers from more than three dozen federal programs with more than a dozen citizen engagement experts from organizations including the OpenGov Foundation, the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, World Bank, Deliberative Democracy Consortium and the Sunlight Foundation. It was created in an open, transparent process that included three public comment periods.

    While the playbook was developed for federal managers to use initially, we see immediate benefit in expanding and enriching the content with the perspectives and experiences of all levels of public service, both offline and digital — we invite you to help achieve this.

    How can I contribute to the U.S. Public Participation Playbook?

    The Federal Public Participation Working Group, led by the Federal SocialGov Community, is open to all discussion and contribution to the playbook. Once a month we will review all contributions, make updates, and report our progress.

    Contributions to the U.S. Public Participation Playbook could include:

    • New plays
    • More recommendations
    • More resources
    • More training
    • More performance metrics
    • Improvement of existing recommendations, resources, training and performance metrics
    • Expansion of the playbook to empower different communities

    To contribute, please email us your recommendations or new content, or visit the Madison platform, hosted by the OpenGov Foundation, to annotate the playbook.

    Now on GitHub: code and design contributions are welcomed and valued.

    Thank you.