International Observatory on Participatory Democracy

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U.S. Public Participation Playbook

  • United States
  • Project set up by seventy federal managers from more than three dozen federal programs with more than a dozen citizen engagement experts from organizations
The Playbook is a resource for US governments, a guide to assess citizen participation. The aims of this project are to analyse citizen participation, open government and accountability.


The Playbook has 2 categories: establish goals and facilitate participation. Each category includes different parts divided into a checklist to consider, resources and training. 

Establish goals

Play 1: Clearly define and communicate your objectives

Understand the Playing Field

Play 2: Understand your participants and stakeholder groups

Play 3: Understand and communicate the benefit of participation

Play 4: Empower participants through public/private partnership

Design Participation

Play 5: Select appropriate design format for public participation

Play 6: Design for inclusiveness

Play 7: Provide multi-tiered paths to participation

Play 8: Provide effective and timely notifications

Play 9: Encourage community building through responsive outreach

Play 10: Protect citizen privacy

Facilitate Participation

Play 11: Use Data to Drive Decision Making

Evaluate and Report


Play 12: Transparently report outcomes and performance of participation