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Foundations in Public Participation (IAP2): Module 1

Developments in technology, economic and political changes across the globe and the use of social media have created new challenges in engaging the public. There are increasing expectations from the public to be involved and to influence decision-making. This course will provide you with the skills to effectively plan and deliver your approach to engaging the public.

About this course

Planning for effective public participation makes up module 1 of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) qualification and is the first of two modules. After completing both modules 1 and 2 you will be awarded the IAP2 International certificate qualification - Foundations in Public Participation. The two IAP2 modules are delivered as follows:

  • Planning for Effective Public Participation (module 1) – 3 days
  • Techniques for Effective Public Participation (module 2) – 2 days

This course draws on the expertise of practitioners around the world to ensure that you receive the most up-to-date teaching in community engagement available. During this course you will learn how to lead your organisation’s engagement with stakeholders through project and policy development. You will become familiar with defining stakeholder issues, identifying impacted stakeholders, and planning for their involvement throughout your project. 

Using the IAP2’s spectrum of public participation, you will be able to choose an appropriate level of participation and learn how to plan for the timing, techniques and resources required to manage a successful community engagement project. Emphasis is placed on creating and using continuous feedback and evaluation, while also exploring the skills required to communicate and deliver an effective engagement plan.

Course structure

This course will cover the five essential steps to planning for effective public participation including:

  1. Gaining internal commitment
  2. Learning from the public
  3. Selecting an appropriate level of participation (using the IAP2 spectrum)
  4. Defining the project decision process and the role of the public
  5. Developing your public participation plan.

The course also covers communications that are part of your engagement plan including:

  • Developing key messages
  • Communication methods
  • Risk and risk communication
  • Dealing with emotion and outrage.


Learning outcomes

At the completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Identify the engagement purpose and scope from the perspective of the decision maker and the public
  • Identify the decision steps, timing and resources
  • Establish roles and responsibilities and appropriate techniques
  • Select the appropriate IAP2 spectrum level of public participation
  • Set clear and achievable engagement objectives
  • Develop a detailed public participation plan
  • Plan for communications to support your engagement
  • Plan for evaluation.


Delivery style

This course will be delivered as an interactive workshop consisting of an instructor-led lecture, group and individual activities. This training approach allows participants to work through concepts introduced by the trainer in an application-focused teaching environment. Participants will challenge their understanding of the concepts and consider their application once back in their individual workplace.


Course prerequisites

This course has no prerequisites. After completing module 1, you are encouraged to enrol into Foundations in Public Participation IAP2 Course: Module 2 which focuses on the techniques for effective public participation.

After completing both modules, you will be awarded the IAP2 International certificate qualification - Foundations in Public Participation.


In-house training solutions

This course can also be customised and delivered in-house. Find out more >


COVID-19 Information

UTS is undertaking a number of social distancing initiatives, as informed by NSW Health advice, to help reduce social interactions in support of the government’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. As part of this response, some of our short courses may be postponed to a later date.

Please note however, bookings are open for all courses offered by the Institute for Public Policy and Governance (IPPG). If a course needs to be postponed, participants will have the chance to transfer to a later date, a new course or request a full refund. IPPG will also be offering a range of online or blended learning options facilitated via zoom video conferencing. If you have any questions in the interim, please do not hesitate to contact our team at

Who is this course for?

This course is suitable for professionals who either need to oversee or become directly involved with the planning and delivery of community engagement for policy or projects. The course has been designed for those who are looking to explore the key topics surrounding planning for effective public participation.

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