Our proposal for change
The Department of Internal Affairs' Government Information Service is recommending, assuming appropriate funding is granted, to take a test and learn approach to implement what has been learnt during the digital democracy discovery process.
Using the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) spectrum of engagement (below) with a range of different types of consultations and engagements, we can test and demonstrate what’s possible with new digital tools and human-centred design methods. With the knowledge of what works, we can move beyond informing and consulting, to a more empowering level of engagement like co-design.
The spectrum is designed to help select the level of participation that defines the public’s role in any community engagement programme. It shows that different levels of participation are legitimate depending on the goals, time frames, resources and levels of concern in the decision to be made. Most importantly, the spectrum sets out the promise being made to the public at each participation level.
Success will see engagements that:
- foster a trusted way to hear people’s submissions
- build relationships with traditionally excluded communities as part of the stakeholder engagement
- test deliberative and consensus based decision making methods and tools
- create engaging content instead of a long, hard to read consultation documents
- use digital marketing expertise to test targeted messaging
- follow privacy and security standards
- use social media (or other relevant tools) to hear and respond to comments and feedback in an open space (if applicable), and
- proactively publish relevant material in an easy to understand, accessible format.
We’ll take what works from the engagements we’ve worked on and build a suite of advice, guidance, tools and methods. This will support a system change where people are empowered by technology to both participate in government decision making, and lead topics for discussion.
Framework for approach
GIS will provide a suite of tools, advice, standards and guidance to make it easy for agencies to increase and improve public participation. The suite of solutions will support a shift to collaborative and deliberative decision making, embedding system change and raising capability across the public sector. This work is part of a wider authorising environment, with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC), as leader of the policy profession, the State Services Commission (SSC), who are responsible for culture and process across the State Sector, and Statistics New Zealand, who provide the data stewardship.
Diagram: Framework for approach
Detailed description of diagram
The framework has 5 main columns: Inform, Consult, Involve, Collaborate, Empower.
Under Inform, the framework recommends guidance and a consultations listing. GIS will do this by consolidating guidance and making it usable and engaging, and by developing consultation standards and a draft consultation data standard. The guidance and consultations listing will be joined together with deliverables from the Consult phase and made into a package of relevant tools and advice, a survey tool, social media and advice on plain English and copy writing. The outcome for the Inform phase is ‘System Change’.
Under Consult, the framework recommends a single agency consultation, such as the Copyright Act. This connects to the recommendation under Involve and Collaborate, which is multi agency/complex engagement, and also the recommendation under Empower, which is select committee consultation. The suggested tools for carrying out the Consult phase’s single agency consultation are Delib’s dialog and social media tools. Testing is then recommending for plain English, micro-copy, digital marketing and proactive release info. This will be joined together with deliverables from the Inform phase and made into a package of relevant tools and advice, a survey tool, social media and advice on plain English and copy writing. The outcome for the Consult phase is ‘Government Information Services: Advice and guidance package’.
Both Involve and Collaborate use a multi-agency/complex engagement, which is linked to the single agency consultation in the Consult phase and the select committee consultation in the Empower phase. For Involve, the example is digital inclusion and partnering is recommended to leverage skills and knowledge. For Collaborate, the example is a digital rights framework and the recommended tools and methods are co-design, deliberative tools like Loomio, and having a partner organisation. These tools and methods are linked to the tools and methods in the Empower phase, which include using digital tools to widen and diversity audience (like Pol.is), video streaming, consensus based tools and virtual reality. The testing methods that are recommended for both Involve and Collaborate are feedback loops to keep people informed, genuine engagement so people can see how their feedback had influenced decisions/outcome, the digital marketplace, which will provide more sophisticated tools and procurement of partners, to gamify participation through digital tech, using plain English plus multiple formats suitable for diverse needs such as video, and to keep a database of insights to investigate reuse and expansion across government. The deliverable for the Involve and Collaborate phases is a package containing multimodal tools, procurement of tools and panel of partners, advance and Marketplace, work across system to deliver and leverage existing toolkits such as Service Innovation, and guidance to support multimedia formats and platforms. The outcome for the Involve and Collaborate phases is tools and methods brokerage.
Under Empower, the framework recommends a select committee consultation, which is linked to the multi-agency/complex engagement in the Involve and Collaborate phases, which in turn is linked to the single agency consultation in the Consult phase. For the Empower phase, the recommended tools and methods are using digital tools to widen and diversity audience (like Pol.is), video streaming, consensus based tools and virtual reality. These tools and methods are linked to the tools and methods in the Collaborate phase, which include co-design, deliberative tools like Loomio, and having a partner organisation. The testing methods that are recommended for the Empower phase are digital democracy, consensus-based decision making on polarising tools, using digital technology for empathy building, flexibility of process to reflect people’s desires for more equitable government, and transparency of process and decision making. The deliverable for the Empower phase is a package where people partner with government and civil tech organisations who are already testing and doing, and working with the Office of the Clerk to develop guidance and share best practice. The outcome for the Empower phase is access to expertise and support.