Rescuing Policy: The Case for Public Engagement

This book argues that public engagement is the right response to the rise of the consumer model of politics and the crisis that it has created in public policy. The book is an authoritative and accessible guide to collaborative policy-making and the engagement processes that support it. With original case studies, this book will be of interest to students of government and governance from across the policy community.

This book draws on the findings of the Public Engagement Project, a two-year initiative involving seven provincial/territorial governments – British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut – the Canada School of Public Service, the City of Hamilton and the Government of Australia.

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Praise for “Rescuing Policy”

“Governments work best when they include people in the decisions that touch their lives. Lenihan’s work provides a thoughtful analysis of the factors that influence those decisions, and draws a roadmap toward new models of citizen engagement.”
Hon. David Alward, Premier of New Brunswick
“A great read and a reminder why I come to work each day…”
Chris Murray, City Manager, City of Hamilton
“…a must-read, particularly for the skeptics, who still think of engagement as utopia. It can be done, and Lenihan shows us how.”
Graham Fox, President and CEO, Institute for Research on Public Policy
“This book gives me hope that our elected governments really can work with the public to find sustainable solutions to the complex public policy issues of our generation”
Penny Ballem, City Manager, Vancouver
“Governments need to find new ways to restore confidence and generate new processes. Public engagement may just be the answer.”
Lynelle Briggs, Former CEO, Medicare Australia
“Lenihan delivers a sharp and telling critique of the shortcomings of contemporary policy-making… He also proposes a provocative way out…”
Giles Gherson, Deputy Minister, Consumer Services, Government of Ontario
“Don Lenihan sets out a blueprint for a new open-source democracy which is an ambitious call to action for citizens, elected officials, and policy leaders…”
Nik Nanos, President & CEO, Nanos Research
“…a persuasive and very readable book that makes a compelling case for public engagement…”
David Zussman, Jarislowsky Chair in Public Management, University of Ottawa
“This work…provides a valuable contribution to our discussions on effectively engaging citizens in the public policy process.”
Brian Manning, Former Deputy Minister of Executive Council, Government of Alberta
“…an important analysis of the challenges facing policy makers in an increasingly complex and interconnected world…”
Hon. John Milloy, Minister of Community and Social Services, Government of Ontario
“Rescuing Policy shines a much needed light on the damage “consumer politics” is having on Canadian society and offers an exciting alternative to realize the potential and promise of our communities.”
Karen Farbridge, Mayor, City of Guelph
“Don Lenihan accurately frames the emerging challenges confronting policy-makers created by changing demographics and expectations among citizens. There is growing need to rethink how government engages the public, and Lenihan’s ideas are part of the solution.”
David Eaves, Blogger and Public Policy Entrepreneur