Extended Stakeholders' Engagement Cycle

Stakeholder engagement is a series of communication processes, which involve preliminary research, communication design, implementation and evaluation. Stakeholders’ engagement is highly dependent on the (1) planning culture, (2) scale and scope of the planning document, (3) stakeholders’ number and profile, (4) anticipated level of stakeholders’ empowerment, (5) planning phases, in which participation occurs, (6) availability of participatory methods and tools (Horelli, 2002). This means that stakeholder engagement processes should be tailored for each case, when the planning document is under discussion. The Extended stakeholders’ engagement cycle (The Cycle) guides you through a series of five consecutive steps, assisting you design, implement and evaluate your Public participation plan (PPP), so that that you do not start each time from scratch.

  • Identify and analyse the relevant stakeholders

    • Identify relevant stakeholder groups and contact persons within these groups (with contact information)
    • Establish contacts with the stakeholders
    • Inform the stakeholders about the benefits (and drawbacks) of participation
    • Identify stakeholder roles, power capacities, needs and interests

  • Identify participation goals

    We strongly advise to discuss participation goals and preferred participation formats with the prospective stakeholders, e.g. in a focus group, as there may be dramatic differences between planners’ and stakeholders’ goals.
    Common participation goals:
    • inform the stakeholders
    • collect data from the stakeholders
    • resolve a conflict
    • develop social capital

  • Choose a suitable participation method(s)

    Browse through the Toolbox of analogue and digital methods and choose the suitable civic engagement methods depending on:
    • the geographical scale (and thematic scope) of the planning document
    • the rough number of stakeholders and their planning related skills
    • the mode of engagement (online / face-to-face)
    • the amount of resources available
    • planning phase
    • level of civic engagement;
    • knowledge needs and the mode of work.

  • Engage the stakeholders / Data collection and analysis

    • Make a Public participation plan (PPP)
    • Conduct civic engagement activities according to the Public participation plan (PPP)
    • If civic engagement activities were targeted at data collection, then analyse the collected data

  • Evaluate participation process and outcomes

    Reflect on the civic engagement process and outcomes:
    • Did you manage to reach the goals, outlined in PPP? If not, what were the reasons, why?
    • Were the stakeholders satisfied with the process / outcomes? If not, what were the reasons, why?
    • Brainstorm, how to modify your public participation strategy in the future!