Practical Guidance for Online Engagement

Over the past few months Amelia has been working closely with the Digital Engagement team at the Department of Internal Affairs New Zealand to develop the NZ Online Engagement Guidance.

We are delighted to present the Guidance, digitally published with creative commons for your use

The Guidance takes a practical approach to online engagement with a simple explanation of the key concepts and checklists for communication, engagement, website, policy and planning teams to plan and deliver effective online engagement. It also includes a simple and easy to use template to develop an engagement strategy, and a tailored case study template to enable the sharing of experience and best practice.

Engagement practitioners across New Zealand contributed to the Guidance through a series of workshops and participation in the New Zealand Online Engagement Community of Practice. Janette Wallace Gedge provided the questionnaire design and discussion forum sections. Nicola Martin developed the principles for engagement featured in the document in collaboration with others in the New Zealand Online Engagement Community of Practice.

Amelia would also like to thank Jessica Musson from Auckland Council, Michael Baranovic from Melbourne City and Ian Morris from the UK, all of whom peer reviewed her work as it progressed. Check out our blog for testimonials from Pia Waugh of the DTO Australia and Matt Leighninger, Executive Director, Deliberative Democracy Consortium in North America.

We hope this Guidance will complement the materials already available worldwide and provide a set of practical tools to support professionals across all levels of Government in New Zealand and beyond.

Over the next few weeks we will be share our thoughts about key concepts used in the Guidance on our blog. To stay in touch, register for our updates here.


Effective engagement online and offline – Keynote for NZ ALGIM (LG info managers) Web and Digital Symposium

On 18 May 2015 our director, Amelia Loye, presented a keynote session at the Association of Local Government Information Management’s Web and Digital Symposium in Christchurch, New Zealand. The key points discussed during Amelia’s presentation are as follows and her direct presentation is also available for download. Please note, the slides aren’t fully explained (especially the first one about Tina Fey’s eye roll!) so please do get in touch if you have any further questions about this or the below:

Designing for democracy is about:

  • Getting involved in (y)our community
  • Playing the long game
  • Encouraging active citizenship

That engagement should encourage active citizenship not Takeholders. Takeholders act in self-interest. Active citizens consider info. and other views. And that using methods that encourage participants to read content then participate, and others views before they provide comment you are more likely to engage active citizenship online.

Innovation is doing what you do better, not just using a new shiny toy. Think about your purpose before developing or buying a new product to engage. While we want engagement to be interesting and entertaining we also need to consider what we are a) asking; and b) going to do with input when we receive it. Think about your user experience too. And your stakeholders journey beyond the digital interface. This is one of the things we mean when we suggest Playing the long game.

Democracy starts with people listening to people. Be prepared to listen and respond. Get your ducks lined up.

The greatest public service you can do is help Gov listen. We believe public servants implementing systems to collect, manage and report information from the community are the real super heroes of our generation. Underated Superheros… and that’s who we want to work with.

Ask Amelia why she got involved in community engagement, how she’s learn’t to describe what she does at the local pub and why Tina Fey features in her presentation!

Find out more about ALGIM Web and Digital Symposium


engage2 hosted Steven Ames when he was in Sydney in April 2014, running masterclasses with NSW Planning and Infrastructure and UrbanGrowth NSW. Widely recognised for his work in community planning, visioning, and civic engagement Steven is described as an “architect of public process.” He is the author of the American Planning Association’s (APA) award-winning handbook, A Guide to Community Visioning and innovator of its Oregon Model.

Much of Steven’s work focuses on the development of long-range and strategic plans for public agencies and institutions. In this capacity, he has advised local and regional governments, community-based and nonprofit organisations, and state, provincial and federal government agencies.

Steven Ames Bio download here