Learning Together for Better Public Engagement (Learn4PE)

Learning Together for Better Public Engagement (Learn4PE) was a pilot initiative designed to build public engagement capacity across the Government of Canada. In its first iteration, participants spent five weeks learning together in English and French, both online and by participating in live sessions with experts. While targeted towards federal public servants, registration was open to all, enabling the exchange of relevant ideas and resources.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

The Government of Canada has taken a number of steps to enhance open and transparent government, and to share best practices domestically and internationally. As part of these commitments, Canada published Principles of Public Engagement in 2017. The Privy Council Office (PCO), the central agency responsible for overseeing and reporting on consultations, developed a series of resources to build public servant’s engagement capacity for engagement planning and design, in partnership with a government-wide Public Engagement Community of Practice.

PCO partnered with the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS) to design and deliver Learning Together for Better Public Engagement (Learn4PE). It was developed as a proof-of-concept collaborative learning experience to make these resources more broadly available, and to scale strengthened capacity. Learn4PE invited participants to join in several activities:
1. Attend interactive, live sessions with guest speakers, including public servants from various Canadian jurisdictions, academics, civil society representatives, etc. Facilitators recorded, transcribed, and posted these sessions. Topics included designing public engagement processes, engagement with Indigenous peoples, relationship-building, data and open policy-making, and self-care for public engagement practitioners. English and French sessions were hosted separately with original content, respecting both Official Languages.
2. Explore curated resources and tools, and exchange views, using a cloud-based learning platform.
3. Participate in weekly group activities relating to various elements of the public engagement process.

Initial objectives included:
1. Learning through collaboration: enabling participants to build their own capacity by working through activities and participating in dialogues with a network of peers
2. Building a shared understanding of meaningful public engagement, based on Canada’s Public Engagement Principles (transparency, relevance, inclusiveness, accountability, adaptability)
3. Sharing resources: Material from the Public Engagement team at PCO and others, allowing teams to engage more efficiently
4. Enabling change agents: Connecting across diverse parts of the government ecosystem (including citizens, partners, stakeholders, etc.) and giving them tools
By partnering to design and deliver Learn4PE, both organizations tested new learning environments for public engagement, used new platforms and tools, and invited a broad group of public servants to participate in a new type of learning activity.

We had both direct and indirect beneficiaries. We targeted Learn4PE towards federal public servants, however given the nature of the subject matter, we opened registration to colleagues in other jurisdictions and the general public. Participation included an invitation to take part in weekly live sessions and engage in group activities via an online platform. By definition, meaningful public engagement means that people affected by a particular government policy, regulation, program, or service can share their views, or participate in the design of government initiatives and, as such, benefit from greater capacity.

PCO will publish an additional series of public engagement resources in early 2020, which could be incorporated into a next iteration of the program. We plan on a continued speaker series on public engagement. Finally, a future version of Learn4PE could build on participant feedback, ideas, and resources shared during the pilot, and lessons learned regarding design, facilitation, and technology.

Innovation Description

Innovation Development

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Year: 2019
Level of government: National/Federal government


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