TABLE 8-1 Diagnostic Guide to Difficulties Related to the People in Public Participation

Contextual Factor

Principles That Become More Difficult to Achieve


Illustrative Practices for Addressing Difficultiesa

Agency Factors




Multiple agencies with decision-making authority

Clarity of purpose

Commitment to use the process to inform their actions

Appropriate timing in relation to decisions

Different agencies may have different views about the purpose of the process or different degrees of commitment to using results

Agencies may have different deadlines for decision making

Participants may choose to participate in one forum and not others, making the focus unclear

Interagency work groups for coordinating the decision-making process

Memorandums of understanding between agencies

Written terms of reference (protocols) for the participation process

Substantive mandates or limits to agency decision-making authority

Inclusiveness of participation

Openness of the design

Stakeholders may have concerns that are not within the authority of the convening agency, which may reduce motivation to participate

Situation assessments

Openness about external constraints

Expand scope of participants to include entities that may be able to implement solutions

Insufficient support or conflict within agency

All management principles


Inform participants of limited possibilities

Invite participants to contribute resources

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