United Kingdom
name:sector-key:Non-Profit or Non Governmental
General Issues
Planning & Development



First Submitted By Carolina

Most Recent Changes By Carolina

United Kingdom
name:sector-key:Non-Profit or Non Governmental
General Issues
Planning & Development

Mission and Purpose

Involve are public participation specialists. Their aim is to involve citizens in public decision making. They work with a variety of organizations, from government to private sector. Involve makes a practical difference by delivering the highest quality public participation processes possible as well as undertaking rigorous research and policy analysis into what works.


Involve was founded in 2003 by Richard Wilson to determine how new forms of public participation in government can strengthen democracy in Britain. Involve has its office in Central London.

Specializations and activities

Involve has four main specializations:

  • Advocacy: making the case for genuine citizen empowerment;
  • New Thinking: improving understanding of what works;
  • Better practice: supporting institutions and citizens;
  • Networking: bringing member of the participation and empowerment field together.

Through these specializations, Involve has transformed how leading public bodies and companies engage, including: Shell International, the OECD, Ministry of Justice, the European Commission, the States of Jersey (not New), the Sustainable Development Commission, the BBC and many more local and regional governments.

Major Projects and events

Involve's major projects can be sorted in to five categories: Unlocking citizen participation, citizen participation in challenging issues, embedding public engagement in government, public engagement with fewer resources, and promoting good practice.

Unlocking Citizen Participation

The goal of unlocking citizen participation is to explore what it is that citizens need in order to actively participate in their own communities. Past projects include Scouting Sunday, Involve and I&DeA Informal Engagement in Health Guidance, and Say&Play, a project meant to improve local government consultation by combining a community fun day with appropriate consultation methods. Currently they are working on Pathways through Participation, a lottery funded project exploring how and why people get involved and stay involved in different forms of participation throughout their lives.

Citizen Participation in Challenging Issues

To encourage citizen participation in challenging issues, Involve carries out research and develops new practices exploring how citizens can be engaged in complex technical or political debates to help decide a collaborative solution. Past projects include The European Citizens' Consultation 2009, a 3 stage deliberation event where citizens from all over Europe were assembled to deliberate on the economic and social future of Europe. Currently they are working on putting together the Alberta Climate Dialogue, a similar event that will take place in Canada.

Embedding Public Engagement in Government

Involve projects with the goal of embedding public engagement in government focus on helping inwardly focused organizations to become more open to citizen involvement. A past success was Engaging With Impact, a joint project between Involve and MASS LBP, a Canadian engagement innovator. The project examined the culture of engagement across Ontario's public health system, culminating in a report identifying indicators than can be used to improve public and patient engagement in the health area. Currently they are working on a project called Armchair Involvement where they conduct desk research, interviews, workshops and field research to identify the types of digital tools that are useful in encouraging patient and public involvement.

Public Engagement with Fewer Resources

Public engagement with fewer resources is aimed at discovering techniques to make getting citizens involved more efficient and effective. Involve conducts research to evaluate where public engagement can add value, and how to reduce government costs and make more effective decisions. An ongoing project is the Valuing Public Engagement project, a collaboration with Consumer Focus England to develop an equation for identifying costs and benefits associated with public engagement. They are also currently working on Efficiency Savings Through Engagement, where Involve provides a number of activities such as auditing current engagement activities, delivering a wide array of cost effective training, and building internal capacity through training and mentoring.

Promote Good Practice

Involve also tries to promote good practice of engagement activities in order to encourage others to participate. Their most notable project in this aspect was to prepare a guide and provide mentorship for the MOPAN staff outlining how to design and run effective dialogues with citizens. MOPAN is the Multilateral Organisation Performance Assessment Network is a group of 14 donor nations surveying and assessing multilateral organizations in developing countries.[1]


Involve is a not for profit organization that receives funding from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. Involve has been newly registered as a charity organization.

Analysis and Criticism

Involve is a very deliberative organization given the kind of work that they do. They create a solid information base and prioritize key values at stake by conducting numerous research projects aimed at using all of the information available to discover the best techniques for integrating public engagement in government and health.


  • People and Participation[2] Involve's flagship publication, providing a comprehensive overview of what participation is and why its done.
  • What the public say: public engagement in national decision-making[3]
  • Participatory Budgeting and the Arts[4]
  • Understanding participation: A literature review[5]
  • Citizen Power in Recession? The case for public engagement in local government[6]
  • Activating Empowerment: Empowering Britain from the bottom up[7]
  • Teleparticipation[8]
  • Deliberative Public Engagement: Nine Principles[9]
  • Armchair Involvement playing cards[10]
  • Say&Play[11]
  • The True Costs of Public Participation[12]

Secondary Sources

  • Engage With Impact Report[13]
  • A real democratic life for EU citizens...[14]
  • Cutting the national debt with avatars[15]
  • Europe Ahead of US in Science Dialogue[16]
  • Big Society is small government...[17]
  • Liberated by the Big Society[18]
  • Involve Responds[19]

External Links

  • Involve Website[20]
  • People and Participation Website[21]
  • Involve on Facebook[22]