New Playbook Looks to Increase Public Participation


The living document builds off the administration's push for a more open government.

In mid-August came the Digital Services Playbook, providing best practices from the public and private sectors to help government build better digital services. Now, another playbook is in the works, building on the same idea to incorporate insight from industry, government and citizens to enhance engagement with users of public services.

Spearheaded by the General Services Administration’s SocialGov Community, more than 30 leaders across government worked to create a draft best practices, or “plays,” on how to increase public participation, according to a Nov. 25 White House Open Government blog post.

“The playbook is not limited to digital participation, and is designed to address needs from the full spectrum of public participation programs,” wrote Corinna Zarek, senior adviser for open government for the U.S. chief technology officer, and Justin Herman, the SocialGov lead for the General Services Administration who is also managing the U.S. Public Participation Playbook project.

The playbook builds off the administration's push for a more open government and “reflects the commitment of the government and civic partners to measurably improve participation programs, and is designed using the same inclusive principles that it champions,” Zarek and Herman wrote.

The plays were created to provide best practices, examples and proposed performance metrics for government activities. Some categories promote community development and outreach, empowering participants through public-private partnerships, and designing for inclusiveness and accessibility.

The playbook is still a work in progress, and the team involved is asking for the public’s contributions. Those interested in submitting their ideas may do so before Dec. 17. The idea is that the playbook “reflects the best ideas and examples for agencies to use in developing and implementing their programs with public participation in mind.”

“This resource will be a living document, and stakeholders from inside or outside of government should continually offer new insights — whether new plays, the latest case studies, or the most current performance metrics — to the playbook,” Zarek and Herman wrote.

A formal version of the initial playbook is expected to be released for piloting by agencies by January 2015.

(Image via kropic1/