Civic Engagement Principles & Framework

Staff has drafted a consolidated summary of the input received during the framework activity at the January 29th What's Next Alexandria Community Dialogue. Please review the summaries below and tell us what you think.

Page updated on Jul 19, 2017 at 9:13 AM

Alexandria's Principles of Civic Engagement

    Alexandria values a process of engagement where participants demonstrate respect in words and actions and approach decisions with open-mindedness so that everyone feels comfortable expressing their opinion regardless of differences.
    Alexandria reaches out to and encourages the participation of all members of the community in dialogue and decision-making processes, including those who will be affected by the issue as well as those who have not historically been engaged. All members of the community are informed and empowered to participate; all views are equally heard and inform the outcome; and all impacts and benefits are fairly distributed.
    Alexandria identifies and involves stakeholders early in decision-making processes. Community members are involved in framing issues before any conclusions have been drawn, requiring early and ongoing communication with participants through each phase in the process.
    Alexandria promotes open and readily accessible government. Communications and information are timely, easy to understand, and offered in a variety of formats, appropriate to a given process. The City will provide clarity about the public decision making process, including milestones and a defined endpoint. Participants will have the flexibility to participate in a variety of ways, including online and in person.
    Alexandria provides opportunities for all community members to participate in an open and unbiased process, free of predetermined outcomes, to consider and deliberate feasible options. The City authentically solicits, acknowledges, incorporates, and responds to community input.
    The City and community are mutually accountable for a fair process, honest and respectful participation, informed and fact-based discussion, outcomes that reflect citizen input, and acceptance of the result. City processes will include meaningful assessments to measure progress, implementation of improvements as needed, and effective communication of both.
    City government will act with integrity in an open process, and will provide timely access to clear, trustworthy information, presented and employed by all parties from the beginning to the end of the process, including the reasoning that leads to and supports the policy conclusion.
    Alexandria promotes a culture of community engagement that enhances public decision making processes and invests in long-term working relationships, learning opportunities and ongoing, open collaboration between community members, community groups, City leaders and staff.
    The City will work in partnership with the community to periodically assess the application of civic engagement principles. The evaluation will quantify participant feedback, document lessons learned, and identify strategies for refinement.


At the January 29th Community Dialogue, community members worked together to develop civic engagement principle statements to guide public participation in Alexandria. Subsequent to the meeting, facilitators from the tables collaborated with staff to synthesize the 17 table statements into 8 single statements.The community participated in ACTion Alexandria's online poll from March 19th - April 9th to affirm the principle statements. We had a great response! A total of 160 community members participated in the poll, the majority of whom supported the principles as written. At the next Community Dialogue on April 30th, participants confirmed their support of the civic engagement principles. 

Revised Civic Engagement Framework as of July 18, 2013:

  Civic Engagement Framework as of July 18, 2013 small image  

(Note: Click on the image to view a larger version.) 


Comments on the Revised Draft Civic Engagement Framework (below) were accepted from May 9th through May 23rd. All feedback received informed the final draft framework to be incorporated into the Civic Engagement Handbook.

Community members provided a ton of great feedback during the Civic Engagement Framework activity at the January 29th Community Dialogue.  Staff consolidated this feedback in March and posted it for public comment on this website. No comments were posted, and so the framework was further explained at the April 30th Community Dialogue to serve as a basis for a discussion about how the framework will be implemented.    

Framework Sheet
Framework filled in by community members at at the January 29th Community Dialogue