Principles of good Stakeholder Engagement practice

July 25th, 2017

There is no one right way to undertake stakeholder engagement. The consultation process should be project-specific and reflect the nature and scale of the potential impacts. Principles of good stakeholder engagement practice are essential to success.

Regardless of which approaches and methods you choose, you cannot go wrong by applying basic principles of good practice in stakeholder engagement. Here we introduce two references for your consideration: the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) stakeholder engagement guidance, and the core values of the International Association for Public Participation.

According to the IFC, ideally a good consultation process will be:

  • Targeted at those who most likely to be affected by the project
  • Early enough to scope key issues and have an effect on the project decisions
  • Informed, meaningful – disclose relevant project information in a understandable format and the techniques are appropriate to the local culture and customs
  • Two-way so that both sides have opportunities to exchange information, listen, ask questions, and have their issues addressed
  • Inclusive of gender
  • Localised to reflect the local timeframes, context, decisions making process and languages
  • Free from manipulation and coercion
  • Documented to keep track of who has been consulted and key issues raised
  • Report back to stakeholders in a timely manner on consultation outcomes and next steps
  • Ongoing throughout the project life



  1. Public participation is based on the belief that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.
  2. Public participation includes the promise that the public’s contribution will influence the decision.
  3. Public participation promotes sustainable decisions by recognising and communicating the needs and interests of all participants, including decision makers.
  4. Public participation seeks out and facilitates the involvement of those potentially affected by or interested in a decision.
  5. Public participation seeks input from participants in designing how they participate.
  6. Public participation provides participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way.
  7. Public participation communicates to participants how their input affected the decision.

Other industry guidelines such as the Community Development and Engagement Handbook – Leading Practice Sustainable Development Program for the Mining Industry are also good references.

To learn more about how to run a successful stakeholder consultation program, download our free e-book by clicking on the link below. In this e-book you will find:

  • A step-by-step guide through all the stages of planning, delivering and reporting on a successful consultation program
  • A framework for a Stakeholder Engagement Plan
  • Links to additional resources

seven steps to successful consultation