Public Engagement & Noticing Manual - St Luis Obispo

St. Luis Obispo California created a manual/ templates to improve outreach for informing, consulting and collaborating with the community.  The guide provides local information & checklists on legal requirements, stakeholders, venues, and the press. 

Benefits & Problems Addressed

Information at Staff Fingertips: The manual helps avoid duplicating efforts to find contacts, venues and requirements.

Specific requirements based on level of engagement: The manual lists various requirements and best practices based on whether the project requires quick notification or deeper, more complex collaboration.

Trust building: the extensive checklist helps ensure key stakeholders and items are not missed. This is important for new staff and cross-Departmental efforts. 

Tips & Techniques

Project Plan Template: The manual includes (and links to a fillable 3 page form) for project planning. The form can be sent to team members and managers to assign roles & responsibilities, identify stakeholders, and highlight key steps at the onset of the project. This step also helps frame the extent of engagement to better allocate resources and align with budgets and timelines.

Action Plan Matrix:  Signals which level of city government needed based on inform, consult, collaborate

Outreach Tools: A checklist of outreach tools that are expected/required (e.g. newsletter notices), and those that are additional (e.g., focus groups, community calendar).

Audience: Lists audiences by (1) issue areas & (2) a "who's who" of groups in the city.

Media Contacts List: List of media outlets, reporters & contact information.

Community Outreach Events: his section defines various types of meetings (Workshops, Neighborhood Meetings, Open Houses, & Open City Hall).  For each there is a checklist and recommendations on two-way communication.

Glossary: Definitions of common terms. Because the manual is public, this helps the community understand terms.

Templates: Various templates the city uses for notifications, invitations & announcements. 

Venues: List of venues available, address & capacity for public meetings.

Adaping for yout city: Pull together existing manuals and compare to St. Luis Obispo.  Convene co-workers to update links, contacts and stakeholder lists. See how to add other resources available in your city (e.g. blogs, podcasts).

Hot Buttons: The stakeholder and contacts lists must be regularly updated.  The lists mainly cover traditional meetings, missing some of the newer engagement types, art + engagement ideas & pop-up activities.


Public Engagement and Noticing Manual, St Luis Obispo