Award for Public Engagement

Edmonton Wins International Award

One of the most important elements of a productive and valuable democracy that serves the best interest of its people is an actively engaged public body. Unfortunately, for years many Edmontonians had lost faith in how the City was engaging the public. Even if we were asking the right questions, there often were not measures in place to make sure the responses were used appropriately.

In 2014, Council kicked off an initiative to restore trust through better public consultation, and, more importantly, to create a system where feedback is collected and used efficiently and reliably. Since 2014 the Council Initiative on Public Engagement has taken a “begin from the beginning” approach to break down what good engagement looks like, how it operates and what the outcomes are.

This initiative has resulted in an extensive 27-item action plan, a new public engagement strategy and a dedicated team (the Guiding Coalition on Public Engagement) to ensure accountability and transparency in our engagement process.

The Guiding Coalition is made up of diverse people with a keen interest in the relationship between governance and public engagement, and has proved to be invaluable to the initiative’s success.

Today, I am proud to share with you that the Council Initiative on Public Engagement has been recognized internationally. On October 24, 2018, the City of Edmonton was named the 2018 International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) International Organization of the Year at the Australasia IAP2 Conference.

It’s been a pleasure to be a part of this process along with fellow Councillors Michael Walters and Andrew Knack. We pushed to have Council adopt the initiative and have witnessed thousands of passionate Edmontonians step up to give their time and ideas to creating a better future for our city.

We recognize there is still a lot of work to be done but the coalition now has the tools to move forward.  Hopefully you will be able to continue to engage with us, and feel confident knowing that your input is not only valuable, but an integral part of our decision making process.

Please feel free to contact me anytime at ben.henderson@edmonton.ca or at 780-496-8146. Follow me on Twitter@ben_hen

 

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