I’ve been in P2 for over fifteen years and have seen the practice evolve from a “Community Relations” exercise into a sophisticated and step-wise process. I very much wanted to be a part of and support any move to building the practice of engagement and public participation.
The certification process is not quick, nor should it be. Beyond an in-depth application and preparing a case study there is an intensive few days at a session where applicants are evaluated on their understanding and application of IAP2’s engagement foundations and their ability to design an engagement plan.
Here are some of the things I did to prepare — and some things I wish I had done better:
- Set aside the time required to complete the process. I wish I had put aside more, larger blocks of time.
- Start an engagement log. There’s a requirement to demonstrate a depth and breadth of engagement techniques and experiences so be sure to start a log. I’d recommend printing out the application form a year before you are going to apply so you can ensure you meet all the requirements before you start the application process.
- Ask process questions often. The CP3 accreditation is relatively new, so ask questions and seek clarity on all aspects.
My goal was to become a CP3 and I completed that in late 2017. The long-term goal is to see the practice of public participation continue to evolve and serve the needs of not only proponents and sponsors of processes, but community. We need to ensure that it’s not only government and industry who are proficient in process design, but citizens, non-profit organizations and community associations.