What the research told us
These are the common themes that came through from our interviews with people, agencies and other organisations.
Common themes and opportunities
People want to be kept informed — through the process and of the outcome.
Government needs to be a part of the conversation — it’s about two-way communication.
Time is a constraint — agencies feel they do not have time to engage, while people feel they do not have enough time to respond.
- Model best practice engagement principles — trial tools using real engagements that support deeper two-way engagement and deliberative discussion.
- Iterate existing social media guidance on how to use it for better public engagement, and further investigate the benefits of ‘scaled listening’.
Social media — local research
- Build a feedback loop into the process to keep people informed — using digital and non-digital channels.
- Investigate creating an all-of-government database of insights to check what we already know about an issue, area or community to help combat consultation fatigue.
People want to know how we will be using their information.
Online digital forum — require a balance between anonymity versus verification, while moderation is required to avoid trolling or bullying.
- Ensure privacy of personal data is a foundation piece in the draft engagement principles and guidance.
- Use the digital marketplace procurement process to assure privacy and security assessments cover digital engagement tools for all-of-government use.
Inclusive and human
Information, including context, needs to be provided in a way that is easy to understand and engaging.
Most effective engagement achieved by going to where people are — both digital and non-digital communities.
People want to engage through a variety of channels — both digital and non-digital with the ability to ‘self-select’.
When engaging with Māori and Pasifika, initial contact ideally should be face-to-face — also respect tikanga.
- Promote the creation of inclusive, easy to understand content — through standards and guidance, and role modelling best practice.
- Use digital marketing techniques to make sure relevant information gets to the right audience, for example use Facebook data to develop personas for campaigns, then develop an approach for each persona.
- Invest time into building relationships with diverse communities who are traditionally excluded from government decisions and digital channels — for example Māori networks, Disabled People’s organisations.
Open & transparent
Relevant information and data needs to be publically available to help people make decisions about issues.
People want to see government working in the open so they can trust the process.
- Ensure information and data around an issue is published — to support people’s decision making and publically show the evidence behind why decisions are made.
Government has to work collaboratively to share engagement best practice and support change.
Partner-up to access more innovative practices and form closer ties to communities.
- Develop partnerships — work with other organisations (for example Toi Āria, ActionStation) who have existing expertise in democracy and design-thinking to provide capability.
- Take an all-of-government approach — join-up guidance and advice by working with the government agencies who have responsibility for leading best practice public engagement.
- Develop a centre of expertise for digital engagement — connect and support agencies with guidance, skills and tools.