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What is a Stakeholder Engagement Strategy?

A Stakeholder Engagement Strategy sets out:

  • the requirements for stakeholders;
  • who are the stakeholders involved;
  • which methods will be employed;
  • when there are opportunities to comment and/or provide information as the draft SMP is being developed;
  • how comments received will be responded to and differences resolved;
  • how the SMP will be disseminated for comments. (for example, available through websites, copies of the SMP made available for inspection in a variety of public buildings, to reflect local issues and needs).

There are five guiding principles influencing stakeholder engagement strategy selection:

Inclusivity -The initiation of the SMP process should indicate whether a participatory or a consultative approach is adopted and outline the extent of wider community involvement.

Transparency - Timely, accurate, comprehensive and accessible recording of representations, decisions and their justification is required to track decisions. The strategy should indicate who has responsibility for this.

Appropriateness - The range of stakeholders, their level of involvement and likely knowledge, the potential for differences of view and the opportunity for awareness raising will influence the approach adopted.

Clarity - The roles of different "players", including where final decision-making lies, must be made clear in the strategy.

Comprehensiveness - The strategy should cover all stages, including plan dissemination and arrangements for reporting on stakeholder engagement.

Key Stakeholders are involved at a number of stages in the SMP development. These include:

  • Being informed an SMP is being prepared
  • Being asked to provide relevant information and raise issues of concerns
  • Reviewing issues identified
  • Reviewing the ranking of objectives
  • Establish policy scenarios and identify key drivers for directing future policy
  • Discussions on proposed preferred policy options
  • Public examination of draft SMP
  • Feedback and dissemination of final SMP