Spread a Gold Standard of Decision-maker Driven Engagement across government

Proposal:

Create and spread a Gold standard Decision-maker Driven Engagement for NZ government that will have more impact because it involves the decision makers in the process; focus on issues the government want public input on; produces recommendations usable for politicians; and feedbacks the government response/action.

 

Principles to implement:

The Gold standard of Decision-maker Driven Engagement should embed principles such as:

A.    Involve decision makers throughout the process

·        Involve relevant government ministers in the design

·        Communicate closely with government throughout the process

·        Seek a government ministers to champion the process

 

B.     Focus on issues the Ggovernment wants public input on

·        Ask government ministers to identify pressing issues they would welcome input on

·        E.g. Housing or infrastructure challenges, or immigration

·        Run engagement exercises on these

 

C.    Create politically usable input

·        Make sure the input processes consider constraints and conflicts that exist in political reality

·        Produce several not just one options for politicians to consider

·        Produce timely data for politicians by operating quickly and on a large enough scale e.g. online

 

D.    Feedback Government’s Response

·        Communicate public input initiatives over time not just for one event

·        Collate and communicate all input online

·        Coordinate and communicate the response of decision makers to public input

·        Follow a template for government feedback that explains and justifies a range of responses to suggested options, each to have an explanation or ‘why’ section within them:

o   ideas being taken forward by the government

o   ideas the government will consider further

o   ideas we cannot do

o   ideas others may progress

o   ideas with no further action at this time.

 

·        Make sure the politicians are given space to communicate the rationale for their decision. This helps them be respected and trusted but it also legitimises the engagement process in the public’s eye

 

Making it practical/possible to implement:

·        Start small, then spread over time

·        Ask each department/ministry to adopt these principles for one engagement exercise during the two years

·        Or seek to get just 5 on board or SSC run one on an issue that crosses 5 departments e.g. housing, transport, treasury, employment and immigration

·        Or implement 1-3 Gold Standard Decision-maker Driven Engagement Process during the 2 years to showcase the value of following its’ principles

·        After two years, then move to making it the gold standard that other government staff/units start aspiring to

o   Provide more budget for gold standard engagement exercises

o   Run awards for the best engagement exercise that meets the Gold Standard Decision-maker Driven Engagement

o   the SSC Minister’s Gold Standard Decision-maker Driven Engagement Resource Budget for all government units to bid for funding from

o   require all engagement to follow these principles for engagement that costs more than x$s, or not be able to use public money

Why the contribution is important

Most engagement has little impact on actual decision making in government, because politicians are not involved in the public input system, the input it produces is unusable for politicians as it doesn’t take into account the nature and realities of government hinder integration of public input, or give them room to show leadership and make the final decision.

 

However there are ad hoc examples of impactful and successful engagement and the difference is they involve the decision makers (government ministers) in the process; focus on issues politicians want public input on; produce clear and usable recommendations for politicians; and feedback the government response/action. Examples include Welfare and Tax Working Groups in New Zealand; and TSA Ideas Factory and NASA Ideascale in the US that led to actual changes in government policy/processes.

 

In these examples, the government/elite considered and took on board input, and without saying yes to everything (which is not possible politically let alone cost wise), gave a reasoned response and justification, and did follow some of the options. The input and response was effectively communicated. More specific public input initiatives such as the Tax Working Group in New Zealand have featured a wider range of material online, including meeting notes, briefing documents, policy research as well as reports on public input. And the report back was detailed. The TSA’s Ideas Factory was that they reported back, with an explanation including why ideas could not be implemented. NASA responded to ideas gathered via the agency’s Ideascale site with some specificity: they classified submitted ideas into one of four categories: things we can do; things we do or have done; things we cannot do and unclear or off-topic. Those ideas placed under ‘things we can do’ were tagged to specific topic areas (such as education, public affairs, NASA spinoff, etc.)’ and a report of ideas was delivered to the corresponding NASA office. The report that the Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in Australia produced in response to the 2020 Summit is an example of how governments can provide feedback to public input events (Australian Government 2009). In the report they categorised ideas into four groups: key ideas being taken forward by the government; ideas the government will consider further; ideas others may progress and ideas with no further action at this time.

 

We need to spread this success so it becomes the norm rather than one off events.

 

Research source: The Ministry of Public Input https://leesmarshment.wordpress.com/books/the-ministry-of-public-input/

by JenniferLM on August 22, 2016 at 12:31PM

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