Talking Together: A stronger dialogue between you and your governments

The Talking Together project launched on January 9 and closed on February 26. The Government of Yukon and City of Whitehorse want to sincerely thank all Yukoners who participated. We believe that by Talking Together, we can get better at public engagement, earn your trust and be accountable for decisions that reflect your input. Your stories, perspectives and feedback will help us make better decisions. Thank you for participating!

Top 10 recommendations from Yukoners for how to improve the way we do public engagement

Before engagement

1. Communicate early about the engagement process through multiple channels and ensure citizens have time and a variety of opportunities to participate. Avoid the use of jargon and be clear and concise.

We asked Yukoners, “How would you like to learn about opportunities to engage?”  Here are the top 5 responses:
Social media – 28%
Emails – 22%
Websites – 19%
Newspaper ads – 18%
Direct mail – 13%

 2. The scope and intention of the engagement process needs to be clear. Any limitations, prior commitments, or decisions that have already been made should be relayed to the public so there is an understanding of what is being asked of them.

While engaging

3. Be willing to be flexible based on the feedback you’re receiving.

4. Allow for engagement opportunities over the lifetime of the project and not just as a one-time event.

5. Use multiple approaches and techniques to gather input and provide more opportunities for dialogue and discussion.

We asked Yukoners, “How do you prefer to provide your input or feedback?” Here are the top 5 responses: 
Online surveys – 38%
Face to face engagement events – 29%
Online discussion forums or tools – 20%
Written submissions – 8%
Phone calls – 5%

6. Build time into the engagement process so participants are able to tell their stories. The process should foster safety and encourage sharing of differing perspectives.

7. Listen to participants, and seek clarification and understanding.

After engagement

8. Be willing to take action based on the feedback you’ve received. If a decision has already been made, do not engage with the public.

9. Reports back to the public should reflect participant contributions to the conversation. This should be ongoing during the process as well as at the conclusion of the engagement.

10. Communicate the results of engagement process so that participants understand how their input influenced the decision. Close the loop. If there are any next steps, outline those clearly and point participants to a place where they can watch for more information.

How will this conversation continue?

Learning how to talk, work and make decisions together is a journey. We’re starting the conversation now because we want the public to have meaningful opportunities to shape how governments make decisions. By having this conversation, we hope governments and citizens build trust as they talk together in the future.