Citizen Engagement: A Catalyst for Effective Local Government

Andrew William Bucci, Lucy Hulford, Alison MacDonald, James Rothwell


This project examined the crucial role citizen engagement plays in the local governance process by analyzing various methods of citizen engagement and their direct application to examples in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). A literature review and jurisdictional scan was conducted to develop a Best Elements Framework for effective citizen engagement. This identified the seven best elements of citizen engagement, including: timing, use of technology, diversity/representativeness, multiple engagement mechanisms, two-way communication, active community building and accountability/transparency. This framework was then applied to two HRM-based case studies: the HRM Community Engagement Strategy and the HRM Rebranding Strategy. Through analysis of both case studies, the group concluded that the methods utilized were effective overall.  Four recommendations were generated for HRM moving forward: creating an annual citizen engagement report card, integrating and expanding online engagement mechanisms, exploring other engagement and evaluation mechanisms, and establish guidelines with community stakeholders for how engagement will impact decision-making.


Citizen Engagement; Public Engagement; Local Government

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