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Ten guiding principles for consensus building:
1. a participant must have a valid reason for participating
2. the process must include every stakeholder that is affected
3. all participation must be voluntary
4. participants to design / decide the parameters - the what, who, why, how, when and where
5. the process to maintain flexibility - to deal with possible changes
6. all participants must have equal access to information and opportunity to participate
7. participants must a respect for diverse interests
8. participants to be accountable to their fellow participants, the process, the public and their own constituents
9. time limits for taking decisions must be set - these can be both firm and flexible
10. decision must be capable of implementation - so include those who will be responsible for implementation
A post-agreement mechanism should also be established to monitor the implementation and deal with any future problems.
Read the interesting details in  

Designing for Civil Society: technology, engagement, governance:

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Blogging eGovernment - from Enterprise Architecture to eDemocracy
A blog by John Gøtze, who is a consultant and professor working in the areas of e-government, enterprise architecture, standardization, openization, governance, digital leadership, strategic planning, and communities of practice.

Canada 25 Civic Engagement Blog
Canada25 is an organization dedicated to providing a space for young Canadians 18-35 to discuss policy issues affecting our country in a non partisan environment.

Civic Values
An American blog that focuses on building a politics of community around the ideals set forth in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution.

Designing for Civil Society: David Wilcox on technology, engagement, governance
David Wilcox has worked as a consultant, writer and trainer, specialising in community engagement and cross sector partnerships. - Democracies Online
Democracies Online, the blog/newswire, the wiki, and interactive groups are a public service hosted by Steven Clift. They are designed to share information about e-democracy on the global basis as well as connect information-age democracy builders for kno

Local e-Democracy National Project Blog
This blog is part of the local e-Democracy National Project, one of 22 local e-Government National Projects initiated by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to help deliver the national strategy for local e-government.

Otherwise Engaged
Operated by Alexandra Samuel who is a researcher and writer specializing in online dialogue and electronic democracy. She helps governments, NGOs and businesses use the Internet to engage citizens, members and employees in discussion and decision-making.

Partnerships Online
A blog focussed on how to make collaborations work through facilitation in workshops and online, with various digital technologies.

Peter Levin's Blog
Peter Levine is Deputy Director of CIRCLE, The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.

Who should take the lead in organizing and convening dialogs?

In many professional circles there is an ongoing debate about the role and ability of government to convene effective collaborative processes. Many people argue that government cannot successfully organize and convene such efforts given its built-in institutional resistance and lack of responsiveness. Citizens, by contrast, often can provide more effective forums through organic, grassroots initiatives.
Recent studies indicate that participation by one or more levels of government is essential to the effectiveness of the more ad hoc, citizen-driven processes (Kenney 2000; Susskind et al. 1999; Susskind et al. 2000). Governments not only provide financial and technical assistance, but also become critically important if the intent of an initiative is to shape or influence policy. Official government institutions, after all, constitute the formal public decision-making processes in our society.

Neither top-down nor bottom-up approaches are inherently superior, and in the final analysis the two ends of the spectrum need to come together to facilitate positive change. Whether a regional initiative is catalyzed and convened by citizens, nongovernmental organizations, businesses, or public officials, it is most effective when the people initiating the process exercise collaborative leadership. Such leaders facilitate development of a shared vision by crossing jurisdictional and cultural boundaries; forging coalitions among people with diverse interests and viewpoints; mobilizing the people, ideas, and resources needed to move in the desired direction; and sustaining networks of relationships. In this respect, regional collaboration is more like organizing a political campaign than preparing a regional plan.


Performance measurement for government - result-based reporting and management tools for government, at: 
The National Civic League:  The National Civic League (NCL) is America's original advocate for community democracy. It is a non-profit, non-partisan, membership organization dedicated to strengthening citizen democracy by transforming democratic institutions. NCL fosters innovative community building and political reform, assists local governments, and recognizes collaborative community achievement. NCL accomplishes its mission through technical assistance, training, publishing, research, 
and the All-America City Awards, America's original and most prestigious community recognition program. 
NCL brings together all sectors of our society - public, private, and nonprofit - to address our common needs and build a thriving democracy. NCL envisions a country where citizens are actively engaged in self-governance and works to create an active civic culture reflective of the diversity of community voices. Understanding and supporting effective local government is a significant part of NCL's overall commitment to the goal of reinvigorating citizen democracy. 


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It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. --Charles Dudley Warner