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Community Influence in Public Decision-Making

Much is made of the idea of community engagement as an agent of democracy. Yet, the contribution of community influence in public decision-making processes is not straightforward.

Doubtless, the rise in – and professionalisation of – community engagement can’t be ignored. But it doesn’t necessarily indicate surety around what community capacity or local knowledge can bring to decision-making processes.

Community Influence in Public Decision-Making arises from a drive to understand more deeply the intersection of community influence and public decision-making, especially in the context of the increased visibility of engagement on the one hand, and declining trust in government, on the other.

A key challenge, was how do we explore the question of community influence in decision-making when outcomes are unreliable and community has little trust in them? Responding to this dilemma, this book falls into three discrete sections:

  • A research overview of policies to engage communities in decision-making and a frame for how community influence sits in current decision-making processes.
  • Current challenges that impact community influence in public decision-making today.
  • Recommendations for engagement practice and practitioners to better engage community capacity in public decision-making.

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Community Influence in Public Decision-Making