Tool 3: Examples of Best Practice

There’s not really a single ‘perfect’ example of community engagement that we can refer you to as the most important thing to remember is to tailor your methods and communications to suit your audience.  Each engagement activity can therefore only be judged by it’s effectiveness in reaching who you want to reach, and subsequently achieving, its stated aims.  What we can direct you to are some exponents of community engagement that we would advocate use of when striving for ‘best practice’:


Cabinet Office – Consultation Principles

Consultation Principles

The Government is improving the way it consults by adopting a more proportionate and targeted approach, so that the type and scale of engagement is proportional to the potential impacts of the proposal. The emphasis is on understanding the effects of a proposal and focussing on real engagement with key groups rather than following a set process. 

The key Consultation Principles are:


The Consultation Institute

The Consultation Institute

The Consultation Institute seeks to promote public, stakeholder and employee consultation by initiating research, publications and specialist events in order to disseminate best practice and improve subsequent decision making.


Dialogue by Design

Dialogue by Design 

This is a limited company established by a group of practitioners in the fields of stakeholder dialogue, public participation and consultation, conflict resolution, and software design. Dialogue by Design specialises in running public and stakeholder engagement processes, using online, paper-based and face-to-face methods.  They have more than 15 years' experience in engagement, including projects for the UK government and many local authorities.  They work with clients to design a tailored process; starting with a clear understanding of the aim of the activity, who is to be involved, any limiting factors, and how results will be used.


ESRC Research Ethics Framework

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funds research and training in social and economic issues. They have an international reputation for providing high-quality research on issues of importance to business, the public sector and government.  Their Research Ethics Framework was designed to reflect, disseminate and standardise good practice in the context of a rapidly changing research environment, and to help ensure that the public remains confident in UK social science. This link takes you to the ESRC website where the Framework document and background information relevant to its development can be viewed.




Involve is a non-partisan organisation which aims to put people at the heart of decision-making. They believe public participation can help solve some of our most pressing challenges and lead to the genuine empowerment of people. Involve's Core Purpose is to show how public participation can positively and productively change the lives of individuals and improve the working practices of institutions. They give advice on participation, empowerment, and community cohesion. The very useful and practical "Community Power Pack" can be downloaded from this site.


Local Government Association


The LGA has produced a number of useful documents about the practicalities of local government consulting the public.


Market Research Society

Market Research Society

A Code of Conduct for traditional market research, as well as other practical information


National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement

National co-ordinating centre for public engagement

The NCCPE aims to make universities more welcoming and accessible and to deepen the social impact and relevance of their work. It is coordinating the work of six ‘beacons’, which are partnerships between universities, a range of public sector, third sector and media organisations to promote public engagement.


People and

People and Partipation helps practitioners in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors to involve wider groups of people in decision-making. The site provides information, advice, case studies and opportunities to share experiences with others.  The site is aimed at people who are directly involved in planning, running or commissioning public participation activities.  It includes a process planner, a database providing information on a selection of participatory methods and their strengths and weaknesses and a number of inspiring case studies.