For more than 30 years communities of all sizes have used the Civic Index to measure their civic capital – the formal and informal relationships, networks and capacities that enable communities to solve problems and thrive.
Building on decades of work in communities, the fourth edition updates the Civic Index with a specific focus on equity and engagement; key components for healthy, thriving communities.
Use the Civic Index with gatherings of community members, partner organizations or staff to spark conversation about community strengths and areas in need of improvement.
Resource Link: www.nationalcivicleague.org/resources/civicindex/
An annual report that elevates the discussion of our nation’s civic health by measuring a wide variety of civic indicators, America’s Civic Health Index is in an effort to educate Americans about our civic life and to motivate citizens, leaders and policymakers to strengthen it. Among other things, the Civic Health Index measures such factors as engagement in public policy, charitable giving, volunteering, and online participation. Learn more at www.ncoc.org/CHI.
From the National Conference on Citizenship website:
Civic Health Index (CHI) is at the center of our work. We think of “civic health” as the way that communities are organized to define and address public problems. Communities with strong indicators of civic health have higher employment rates, stronger schools, better physical health, and more responsive governments. For the past 10 years NCoC, together with the Corporation for National and Community Service and state and community level collaborative networks across the nation, has documented the state of civic life in America in city, state and national Civic Health Index (CHI) reports.
Tina Nabatchi’s report (2012), published by the IBM Center for The Business of Government, provides a practical assessment guide for government program managers so they can assess whether their efforts are making a difference. The report lays out evaluation steps for both the implementation and management of citizen participation initiatives as well as how to assess the impact of a particular citizen participation initiative. An appendix provides helpful worksheets, as well.
Agencies in coming years will face greater fiscal pressures and they will also face increased citizen demands for greater participation in designing and overseeing their policies and programs. Understanding how to most effectively engage citizens in their government will likely increase in importance. Nabatchi hopes this evaluation guide will be a useful framework for government managers at all levels in helping them determine the value of their citizen participation initiatives.
While there is a growing body of literature and experience about how to engage the public, there are few practical tools to gauge the success of these approaches. Recognizing that local officials and staff have limited time and resources, the Institute for Local Government has created online Rapid Review Worksheets to help local governments assess how well their public engagement processes worked. Learn more and download the worksheets at www.ca-ilg.org/rapidreview.
The Need for Assessing Public Engagement
Local officials are increasingly using a wide range of public engagement strategies to help them inform, consult with and deliberatively engage residents on topics such as land use, budgeting, housing, sustainability, health and environment, public safety and much more.
Those of you who are interested in how evaluation can be used from the outset of a public engagement initiative may find this 2-page chart useful. It was developed in 2008 for Everyday Democracy by the Center for Assessment and Policy Development (CAPD) for EvDem’s Communities Creating Racial Equity project, which involved about a half-dozen community coalitions around the country addressing various forms of structural racism. Download the chart here.
The right column of the chart lists benchmarks for “Institutionalization of democratic processes in the community” while the left column lists benchmarks for the issue (racial equity). The chart is also organized according to 4 time-frames ranging from one year to six years plus.
The Public Engagement Principles (PEP) Project was launched in mid-February 2009 to create clarity in our field about what we consider to be the fundamental components of quality public engagement, and to support President Obama’s January 21, 2009 memorandum on open government. The following principles were developed collaboratively by members and leaders of NCDD, IAP2 (the International Association of Public Participation), the Co-Intelligence Institute, and many others.
Enjoy this interactive DebateGraph of the principles! Click on a principle to see the additional text on what the principle looks like in practice, and what to avoid.
This questionnaire was designed by Walter Stephan at New Mexico State University (1999) to be used to examine the outcomes of dialogue groups. The intention was to measure attitudes toward racial, ethnic and cultural groups, optimism regarding the future of race relations in this country, willingness to interact with members of other racial and ethnic groups, perceived understanding of other racial and ethnic groups, and racial and ethnic stereotypes. Presented by the Western Justice Center.
Download resource here.
Assessing the Effectiveness of Project-Based Public Involvement Processes: A Self-Assessment Tool for Practitioners
This 17-page document from the Transportation Research Board, Committee on Public Involvement in Transportation (1999) is an adaptable and practical guide which produces output in a ‘scorecard’ format. It is intended to provide the practitioner with a means of conducting a self-assessment of the effectiveness of a specific public involvement campaign for a specific planning or project development activity (e.g., the development of a long range plan or a specific capital improvement). It is not intended to evaluate the overall public involvement processes or procedures guiding all public involvement activities such as a State department of transportation or Metropolitan Planning Organization would develop under ISTEA regulations. Download here from the NCDD site (no longer available at trbpi.com).