Managing relationships with your partners, stakeholders and the public is really important when you are developing your investment proposal. Building rapport among partners and stakeholders is also critical. How you do it will vary depending on their interests and concerns, but consider site visits, area tours or preliminary meetings before a workshop.
Engagement should be a collaborative process with your partners and stakeholders. It doesn’t need to be limited to formal workshops, but could include informal coffee meetings and phone calls. Make sure you keep everyone involved in the loop.
Identify some success factors at an early stage – for example, how will you measure the success of workshops? Think about outcomes, getting the right people in the room, how you will gather evidence, what environmental mapping will look like. What can you do to ensure someone like your grandmother can understand the problems and benefits?
Be prepared for it to take some time to gauge public views on the issue at hand. Consider some kind of public engagement, such as open days.
If you have not already developed an engagement plan, it is strongly recommended that you do. Your organisation’s communications team will probably be able to help you, and may have a stakeholder engagement plan template you can use. If they don't, you could use and adapt the template below.
Your plan should include, but is not limited to:
Consider mapping the level of influence and interest each stakeholder has, and therefore what role they will likely play and how you will need to communicate with them.
Planning for engagement helps establish the groundwork for all communications and interactions with stakeholders, such as keeping all parties involved when and where they’re needed, understanding their differences and tailoring your responses accordingly.
Stakeholders may play different and specific roles at workshops, depending on the topic and their knowledge, expertise and interests. It is useful to identify these roles, and when they should come into play, in the engagement plan.
Think about building a report-back session into the engagement plan so you can acknowledge stakeholders’ time and efforts and explain:
The level of detail in your plan should be fit for purpose, depending on your project. You may find the Transport Agency’s Public engagement guidelines helpful.
Note that this template is for guidance only, and should be adapted as necessary.
These information sheets are designed to accompany the BCA training modules.