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Supporting Good Governance In Your Community

Full resource: Heart & Soul: Encouraging Inclusive, Open Government. Implementation Guide

Date published: 2011

Source: Orton Family Foundation

Author: Orton Family Foundation

Increasingly, citizens are demanding that their governments be ‘open’: transparent, accountable, cooperative, and encourage community participation in governance. This guide shows how there is much that a community can do to uphold and further the principles of open governance.

It describes five broad goals that a community can aim for, and a series of actions to help achieve each goal, along with excellent examples and resources. The goals include: expanding communications and access to information by designating a communications role, creating a public assistance coordinator/help desk, designing a communications strategy, and putting it online; increasing the role of the community in decision-making by starting issues-based committees, neighborhood associations and councils, holding community conversations, and embracing social networking; including a broader audience by reaching out to youth and lowering the barrier to participation; and building capacity and commitment for open governance by adopting a public engagement policy, establishing a civic engagement committee, creating an annual report, and holding a community summit on governance.

The guide is drawn from the Orton Family Foundation’s Heart & Soul community planning program, an approach that engages citizens in land use planning as a pathway to vibrant, enduring communities.

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