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COMMENT ON the Draft 3rd Edition of the Outreach & Involvement Handbook for City Bureaus

4 Comments

The Outreach & Involvement Handbook for City Bureaus

This recently updated handbook was first developed in 1995 to help City staff think about, plan and carry out citizen involvement efforts.  This handbook is a distillation of the collective wisdom of many citizens and City staff with years of experience in citizen involvement.  We are updating the 2nd Edition (1997) to reflect changes in outreach practices and new technologies.

This Outreach and Involvement Handbook is intended to be a companion piece to the Citizens Handbook, also published by the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.  The Citizens Handbook is designed for citizens interested in developing and maintaining effective neighborhood associations, working to impact City policy, and improving the livability of their neighborhoods and city.

Collaboration in Action

This handbook is a good example of staff-citizen collaboration.  The idea first arose from a group of district coalition board chairs in 1995.  Interested City bureau staff, along with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement staff produced a draft document. The result was a document all participants believed would be useful in furthering effective City outreach and involvement.

How to Comment:

  • Read through the Draft 3rd Edition (748k PDF file), exploring the sections that interest you.
  • Enter your comments in the form at the bottom of this page and click submit.
  • Your comments will be added to those already submitted.
  • Check back to see how the conversation is developing!
  • You can comment as many times as you wish.
  • Your comments will be carefully considered for inclusion in the final 3rd Edition.

4 Comments

Add a Comment

1

Don MacGillivray

April 10, 2006 at 7:03 PM

In general the handbook seems good.

My major criticism would be that it takes the perspective of the staff. Suppose the tables are turned? It is the outside group conducting the outreach to the City Bureau. Would the bureau act in the same way when they are the object of effort on the part of others. My experience is that bureaus can become defensive and fend off such efforts.

My point is that neigh. assoc. are more and more trying to be proactive and expecting the cooperation of others including the City. I find this handbook somewhat patronizing and potentionally demening depending on how the outreach is done and to whom. Often the folks being outreached to want to be involved as a partner not just be a source of information. They want to have some control of the outcome.

All projects are different and this may not be as important as I think it might be. But give this the consideration it is due.

Best wishes,

Don

2

John Ryan

August 30, 2006 at 3:30 PM

The guidebook seems to have a bunch of good information, but I think it would be difficult to use as a reference. It could easily get read once and then shelved. Don (above) raises a good point, each situation is different: different people, different dynamics, different goals, and different history.

What is the BIP 8 guidebook doing on the BIP 9 site at this late date?

It is kind of funny that when I wrote about mapping in the ‘Innovation Culture – a Gateway’ written early 2003 to 2004, it had nothing to do with a roadmap. It was mapping in a mathematical sense, more a transformation from once space to another. I think community and communities are the same way. Note that M Scott peck defines community the specification I gave to Jo Ann Bowman in April in a transformative sense: getting from here to there in discrete, realizable steps.

You could make the guidebook a self refining document and set of practices. It could be accessible to those with internet and without internet access. Most importantly, it could be a self refining tool, a practical realization of the specification I gave to Jo Ann Bowman in April, although we have never talked outside a meeting and have had very limited contact within the meetings.

I wrote the following in June and July as a design for a public involvement catalog, as you know.

The following is a sample of items that could be contained in a public involvement catalog. The data could be contained in an (encrypted) database and accessed by a web template, i.e. the web template would… etc…

The following listing contains:
Item
The name of the event, i.e. Transit advertisement, cable televised debate, brainstorming, etc..
Description
This is a description of the event and process
Suitable for
Items such as controversial issues, large groups, small groups, large geographic area, etc… These questions could also be contained in the issues wizard as a guide. For example, the Issues section of the wizard could contain:
• Group size
• Groups demographics
• Information dissemination
• Recommendation
o Issue history

Type
• Information dissemination
• Public forum
• Private forum
• Decision making
• Information gathering

Advantages
The advantages for a particular event type
Disadvantages
The disadvantages for a particular event type
Noise
These are cautions and items that skew or alter the results from the planned ideal, i.e. not all groups represented or equally represented, meeting too short, paid lobbyist influences the meeting, intimidation, event not sufficiently publicized, sources of bias, incorrect information, misleading information, etc…
Process description and timeline
How many steps are in the process and a sample timeline for planning purposes, i.e. see the citizen jury below.
Requirements and preparation
Facilitator
Is a skilled facilitator needed?
What does the facilitator need to prepare?
Facilitator notes – These are notes included on preparation, recommendations and dos and don’t of the event, ‘helpful hints’ in other words
Team and volunteer preparation
How many people are recommended? Will this be paid staff…etc…?
Team…

Implementations…

Etc…

I would be happy develop this further, including the design itself, perhaps as part of a non-monetary contract. What I have in mind would be a self-refining process incorporating automatic public feedback as much as possible. That way you get the real story of group dynamics incorporated into your reference, not just from a staff perspective. The non-monetary contract would be a good way to keep track of deliverables, what is said and done. The co-chairs desire that I pass everything through them seems backwards from what a public process, especially one about public involvement. Of course it would be even better if I could work with someone as I proposed when I asked about being someone’s assistant for a period of time. That is the best way to learn and get the ‘straight scoop’. Please consider public input to your efforts as well. Good luck to you.

John Ryan

3

anny

September 13, 2016 at 11:15 AM

My point is that neigh. assoc. are more and more trying to be proactive and expecting the cooperation of others including the City. I find this handbook somewhat patronizing and potentionally demening depending on how the outreach is done and to whom. Often the folks being outreached to want to be involved as a partner not just be a source of information. They want to have some control of the outcome.

All projects are different and this may not be as important as I think it might be. But give this the consideration it is due.

<a href="http://www.good-fundraising-ideas.com">good fundraising ideas</a>

4

alice

September 13, 2016 at 11:16 AM

It is kind of funny that when I wrote about mapping in the ‘Innovation Culture – a Gateway’ written early 2003 to 2004, it had nothing to do with a roadmap. It was mapping in a mathematical sense, more a transformation from once space to another. I think community and communities are the same way. Note that M Scott peck defines community the specification I gave to Jo Ann Bowman in April in a transformative sense: getting from here to there in discrete, realizable steps.

http://www.good-fundraising-ideas.com

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