The problem with ‘best’ practice is it also suggests a one-size-fits-all approach, which clearly is inappropriate. It is far better to define concepts of ‘good’ practice that can be adapted, act as a starting point for further innovation and are non-limiting.
The primary obstacles that emerge in our research on this are very clear, the include:
i) there is an inherent culture of risk aversion within government;
ii) failing to integrate online enagement fully into the policy cycle means that people see little point in becoming engaged;
iii) within government, engagement happens at too low a level; people want to see senior policy officials and ministers involved before they believe it has value; and
iv) using the wrong kind of engagement tool; it’s not about fashion, it’s about choosing the right tool for the policy stage and audience.