TransLink is the Metro Vancouver transportation authority, They are responsible for regional transit, cycling, and commuting options as well as AirCare and Intelligent Transportation System programs. Each of these responsibilities directly impacts that public. As a result, public consultation is something that they need to take seriously.
To this end, the authority has developed a detailed list of principles to guide their public consultation & community engagement efforts. While these principles are directed at a specific sector and organization, they are encompassing enough to acts as a template for other organizations in various sectors to learn from.
Principles for Public Consultation & Community Engagement
TransLink has worked diligently to develop a full, inclusive public consultation approach to all its plans and projects. To help us accomplish this, the following Principles for Public Consultation and Engagement have been developed. These Principles help TransLink develop and implement projects and plans that reflect the organization’s and region’s desire for a sustainable transportation system.
Integrate public consultation into all applicable aspects of TransLink’s business
Public consultation will be integrated into the planning of all major capital projects, the development of all significant new policies, and all major planning processes.
Consider both local and regional perspectives
Where geographically-specific projects have broader implications, perspectives from throughout the region should be sought in addition to local views.
Work with municipal partners
Public consultation programs will be planned and implemented in cooperation with interested Metro Vancouver municipalities and other levels of government as appropriate.
Clearly define the parameters of the consultations
When initiating its public consultation processes, TransLink will define the objectives, scope and parameters of the consultations, noting which matters are subject to dialogue with the public and stakeholders. This process will include estimated timing of any decisions, who the decision makers are and what criteria will be used in guiding these decisions.
Consult in advance of key decisions
Public consultation will be undertaken well in advance of decisions made… on major projects, policies and programs, when options are still open to consideration. The results of the applicable consultation process will be communicated… [for] consideration of the project, plan or policy, either in a separate report or within a broader report…
Be inclusive and accessible, by offering a variety of opportunities for input
A range of opportunities and information in a variety of formats will be provided for meaningful public input, to ensure the process is appropriately inclusive. Public consultation will be tailored in response to the needs of the public and stakeholders regarding the issue at hand…
Ensure participants have the opportunity to provide informed input
Public consultation requires informed participants. TransLink will ensure sufficiently comprehensive and accurate information in a variety of formats is available to participants in a timely manner, and that opportunities for interaction with TransLink representatives are provided, so questions can be answered as part of the information-sharing process.
Consider public input as advice
Public input obtained through consultation processes is considered as advice to the Board of Directors and other decision makers. The Board will use this advice in its decision-making processes, in addition to technical, environmental, social, economic, and financial information, and other considerations deemed appropriate.
Inform participants about the results of the consultation process
TransLink will report to the public on the results of its consultation processes in a variety of locations and formats, and will demonstrate how public input has been used in its decision-making processes.
Have you seen a particularly useful set of principles for public consultation? If so, please let me know in the comments.