Use EngagementHQ to Improve Your Community Submissions Process

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Accepting written public comment as part of a formal submissions process allows stakeholders the opportunity to articulate, in writing, their opinions and views on your proposed community plans or policies. Effective and relevant comments received from your community can help capture unique narratives or situations you may not have considered and can also help explain how a unique situation may impact individual behavior in response to a proposed change.

Local Government and the Submissions Process

For local government, the most common submissions process revolves around plan review. That may include your community vision plan, environmental plan, or even a proposed change to your current master plan. In any of these scenarios, your objective is to understand the impact and effects the proposed plan or change will have on your community. To get to that level of insight, you can broaden the input you receive by accepting written public comments as part of your community survey. 

Giving your community guidance around how to write good public comments can improve the quality of comments you receive. You should aim for more substantive comments that provide new information about the proposed plan vs. non-substantive comments that are often unrelated to or simply agreeing/disagreeing with the proposal. Within your project, provide the ground rules for the type of comments you are accepting and consider providing a template, with examples, for stakeholders to follow. 

Organize Submissions from Your Community

Submission Manager, EngagementHQ

The process of accepting comments within EngagementHQ can be done using the file upload question type in the Survey tool. In this example, you’ll see we’ve included questions around demographics. If you are trying to broaden participation in your submissions process, you can run the survey using unverified participation, however, you will want to capture details about who is submitting the comment and why.

With a formal submissions process you’ll need to review each document and republish submissions back for the community to access and review. 

Simplify Community Engagement with Submissions Manager

EngagementHQ’s new Submissions Manager simplifies this process, providing an easy way to review documents, make bulk actions such as downloading or marking submissions as processed, or publishing your submissions directly to a document library on your project for public review. Watch a short overview of how it works.

There are a few ways you can go about accepting submissions on EngagementHQ. The first option would be to simply build the submissions process into your current project page, accepting public comment within your community survey. A second option might be to create a dedicated project page for all community plans currently open for public comment, giving stakeholders easy access to all of your plans under review. Or maybe you simply need an easy way to accept sign or fence permits from community members, you could create a permit project for stakeholders to easily access and submit permit requests. 

The new Submissions Manager helps streamline your workflow process to simplify how you review, organize, and republish those comments or documents for community consumption. Reach out if you’d like to learn more about how the new Submissions Manager works within EngagementHQ.

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