participation

The Hierarchy of Participation: Levels, Techniques and Examples

We have talked about the definitions of public participation and its frameworks, but how to apply the concept in real life is remain a question. Prior to plan participation activities in practice, it is necessary to understand various types of participation and the techniques needed for each type. Choosing the appropriate type and tools in different circumstances and contexts is crucial. We define a hierarchy of participation including four levels by the mode of communication and degree of public influence on decision-making (adapted from IAP2 Spectrum). Remember no one level is necessarily better or more beneficial than another one.

level of participation

The Hierarchy of Participation

 

Level 1 Information

Telling people about your project or service and decisions.

Key points: provide information and inform people about your service

Communication mode: one-way communication

Level of public influence: no

Techniques: pass on information

Examples: newsletters, websites, project introduction, brochures

 

Level 2 Consultation

Asking for public opinions and ideas, possibly making adjustments and decisions according to their feedback.

Key points: provide information, inform people, and obtain feedback about your service

Communication mode: two-way communication

Level of public influence: limited

Techniques: ask and listen to the public, take their voice in decisions

Examples: polls, surveys, message board, interviews, suggestion boxes

 

communication

Level 3 Collaboration

Sharing responsibilities with citizens, working together, and making decisions collaboratively.

Key points: provide information, inform people, obtain feedback about your service, and involve them in decision-making

Communication mode: dialogue-based communication

Level of public influence: moderate

Techniques: organize events, distribute tasks, and make decisions together

Examples: forums, mapping, idea-collection and voting, education events, volunteer activities

 

Level 4 Empowerment

Giving the full managerial power of decision-making to the public.

Key points: provide information, inform people, obtain feedback about your service, citizens make decisions, and you implement their decisions

Communication mode: dialogue-based communication

Level of public influence: full control

Techniques: organize events for citizens, place the full decision-making power in their hands, and implement what they have decided

Examples: citizen proposals, community-run committees

level of participation

Four Levels of Participation

WeSolve offers flexible choices for you to decide which level of participation is suitable for your projects and services. We embed descriptions, idea-collection and polls for each challenge so that you can incorporate the techniques quickly and conveniently into your participation activities.

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About The Author

Yunyue Peng

Master student in Nature Management at the University of Copenhagen, focusing on public participation and citizen action in nature conservation and sustainable development.