Public Engagement Charter

Header for the Public Engagement Charter

Hamilton’s Engagement Committee (HEC) is a volunteer committee of local residents established by the City of Hamilton in the spring of 2014. The HEC was asked to partner with City staff to give advice about how to actively involve the residents of Hamilton in City Council decisions that impact quality of life.

The Public Engagement Charter created by the HEC outlines the key elements to involve residents in decisions made at the City of Hamilton.

Core principles of public engagement

The Charter includes the principles and beliefs that should happen in public engagement.These principles set the tone and direction for successful engagement:

Being transparent means that:

  • decisions are made after wide-spread consultation and discussions with residents
  • residents have access to public records
  • residents have access to information in a variety of ways so they can be involved in decision making and outcomes
  • elected officials and City staff clearly describe and publicly share how and why decisions are made

Trust becomes stronger when residents are given opportunities early and throughout, to be actively involved in their city on an ongoing basis.

Effective engagement occurs when residents, elected representatives, City staff:

  • are responsible for their actions, decisions and roles
  • have a mutual understanding that everyone has an important role
  • actively participate in discussions that result in positive action
  • see that their feedback and input is used and has helped direct the decisions made

Inclusion and diversity is supported and strengthened by:

  • creating opportunities for residents from different backgrounds to work together through the use of appropriate engagement methods and tools
  • recognizing and eliminating barriers to ensure participation is inclusive, diverse and balanced

Collaboration that is inclusive and diverse will enable the successful achievement of goals.

Active participation in decision making happens by:

  • providing opportunities for ideas to be openly shared
  • seeking, supporting and encouraging all residents to share their ideas
  • asking, listening and responding to one another
  • including Hamilton’s institutions, agencies, service providers, businesses and organizations from across the various private and public service sectors, in the discussions

Lasting and positive change happens by:

  • supporting and strengthening collaboration amongst all stakeholders
  • creating a shared sense of purpose and future direction
  • treating all stakeholders as equal partners

Clear, consistent and effective communication occurs by:

  • providing opportunities for residents to give feedback using different methods and tools
  • encouraging and valuing residents’ ideas
  • recognizing that resident input is a community asset
  • providing timely and relevant information so residents can give input in a meaningful way
  • sharing the outcomes of community engagement discussions

Learning, reflection and evaluation are valued components of public engagement when:

  • opportunities for reflective discussion and feedback are created
  • learning is applied to create new options
  • outcomes are carefully reviewed and regularly evaluated to determine how well the City of Hamilton is engaging with residents and stakeholders

City of Hamilton and community capacity to sustain quality public engagement increases when:

  • information and engagement opportunities enable all people to share their ideas and participate in proactive conversations
  • information is accessible to residents and meet their information needs
  • residents have access to a variety of resources that enable them to fully participate

Read the full version of the Public Engagement Charter (PDF, 4 MB).