Public Engagement Strategy
See how the Public Engagement Strategy will provide a vision for community engagement in Surrey
The City of Surrey is developing a Public Engagement Strategy that will provide a vision for what community engagement looks like in the City. This vision will be based on the shared values, desires and needs of staff, stakeholders and the public.
Once completed, the strategy will provide a easy-to-use framework to plan, design, deliver and evaluate engagement initiatives and a user-friendly toolkit of engagement techniques.
Purpose of the Strategy
As the City grows, so has the need to engage with residents, gather input and seek direction on projects and processes affecting them. One of the current challenges to advancing engagement across the City is the lack of a city-wide approach and standards for conducting engagement. To address this, in 2019 the City launched a Public Engagement Task Force. The intent of the Task Force is to refine and enhance how the City engages with the public.
One of the key deliverables of the Task Force is to develop a city-wide public engagement strategy. The strategy is being developed by a consulting firm and will be informed by input from staff, the public and best practices elsewhere. External engagement will focus on assessing existing practices and engaging with residents and community groups the City hears from less in typical engagement efforts.
Process and Timeline
Since the launch, the consulting firm hired to develop the public strategy has:
- Undertaken research looking at best practices in engagement locally and globally
- Explored the challenges and opportunities with current engagement processes
- Reached out to develop relationships with community members/groups that represent voices that have been missing from the City’s engagement efforts
- Gathered feedback from the public attending city-led engagement events
- Hosted a pop-event at Guildford Recreation Centre on Family Day 2020
- Conducted an online survey
What We Have Heard So Far
- In general, those people who participate in online and in-person engagement appreciate and are satisfied with the City’s approach but note there are opportunities for improvement.
- We heard that people sometimes feel that project outcomes are determined in advance of asking the public for their input and that results of engagement need to be shared regularly.
- When asked what would make City-led engagement better, we heard:
- More online engagement
- More / better promotion
- Listening / making people feel heard
- Taking action as a result of input / feedback
- Improved transparency and accountability
- Better locations and hours for events (weekends / after workday)
Read the results from the survey on Public Engagement in Surrey.
- For those that have not engaged with the City at all, or do so rarely, we heard more mixed feedback and suggestions:
- Some people feel that the City’s engagement outreach can seem ‘extractive’ when the scope of input is limited to one project or topic and there is no chance to discuss other matters
- There is an opportunity to build trust and relationships with individuals and organizations that represent marginalized and racialized peoples who experience increased barriers to participation
- Addressing specific barriers like physical access, economic and time poverty, and language could help to increase the possibility of participation
- Tailored approaches for youth, Indigenous peoples, racialized peoples, newcomers to Canada, people on low incomes or experiencing homeless
What Happens Next?
We want to hear your feedback on the draft Public Engagement Strategy. You can participate in the online survey until Friday, November 27, 2020.
- The feedback received from survey participants, along with other community members who were involved in the process to date, will be incorporated into a final draft.
- The final draft will be presented to the Public Engagement Task Force before the end of 2020.
- Once approved, the Public Engagement Strategy will be published on surrey.ca in early 2021 and will guide the approach to engagement on projects across the City.