Identifying and Managing Risks
Prior to the start of a citizen engagement initiative, there are some general questions to ask about risk:
- Who are the citizens who care most about this issue?
- How do they make complaints currently?
- What do they say?
- Who are your most active critics?
- How do they typically contact you?
- What is their message?
- How will the media report this engagement?
- Will they report it?
- What will you do if no one participates?
- What will you do if the comments are very negative?
- What will we do if someone takes over the conversation?
- What about stakeholders, are they supportive?
- How will they find out about the engagement?
- Will they have a specific role in the engagement?
- Do they need to find out ahead of time?
- Will there be formal submissions requested from stakeholders?
- Are there possibilities for blockades, protests, online petitions?
- How will we monitor issues?
- Who needs to know about the issues?
The Citizen Engagement Team will help you work through some scenarios that could occur during the engagement. As with any project that involves the public, your ministry’s GCPE Communications Director needs to be involved to help manage any issues that may arise. They can also provide assistance in a number of areas such as helping to mitigate public relations risks, project specific risks and managing timelines.
In some cases there will be formal project management implemented and a project risk register will be created; the Citizen Engagement Team has templates and samples that can be utilized for this purpose.