Technical Assistance

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Engagement range

Inform/Consult

Difficulty level

Medium to Hard

Cost

Medium ($1000 to $10,000) to High (over $10,000)

When you might use

  • To showcase product, plan, policy

  • To communicate an issue

  • To discover community issues

Number of people to organise

One to three

Audience numbers

Large (over 30)

Timeframe

Short (up to six weeks) to Medium (six weeks to six months)

Issues/resources

 Suitably trained and knowledgeable staff; Publication facilities for reports/publications; Telephone/computer communications facilities

Innovation level

Low

 

Description

Technical assistance is intended to provide the public with understanding complex issues and concepts. Publicising the availability of technical assistance adds transparency and positive public relations to a public participation process. Often technical issues associated with a project are complex and stakeholders require one-on-one discussions to improve their understanding or gain information.

 

Objective

To provide accurate and informed advice on complex issues and concepts.

 

Desired Outcome

Consistent, accurate information that increases community understanding of an issue or proposal.

 

Uses/strengths

  • Builds credibility and helps address public concerns.
  • Can be effective as a conflict resolution technique where facts are clarified.
  • Assists in the dissemination of information.
  • Special considerations/weaknesses
  • Availability of resources can be limited.
  • Technical experts may resent working with members of the community.
  • Can be costly if outside experts are required to provide assistance.

Step by step guide

  1. Advertise the name of the person providing technical assistance and their specialisation so the ublic can directly access the person (at predetermined times) and discuss the issue to improve understanding.
  2. Brief staff and train in public consultation. They need to be polite, courteous and patient with all callers, regardless of their attitude or level of understanding.

 

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