No matter how large or small a transformation process, it will have an impact on real people. Those that are going to be influenced by the change, or who will have influence on it, therefore need to be engaged not only at the beginning, but throughout the process. People do not change their attitudes and behavior on command from others, therefore successful change depends on actively and appropriately engaging them throughout a change process.
Depending on the scope of the assessment, many different stakeholders have different levels of interest in and influence over the process. By engaging stakeholders early on in a reform or change process it is possible to support the ownership that is critical for later implementing. Moreover transformational leaders are a common feature of successful change processes. Such leaders can be found anywhere in organizations or stakeholder groups and play a key role in "championing" the process.
There are various approaches and tools available to map and analyze stakeholders, but typically it involves a 4 step process.
Download the file "Toolkit for Capacity Development" to support your work. Tool 4 and 5b deal with stakeholder engagement.
Stakeholders will vary from situation to situation, but may include:
- national institutions such as the public procurement oversight organization;
- ministry of finance;
- civil service commission;
- anti-corruption commission;
- audit commission;
- training and education institutions;
- political leaders;
- procuring entities;
- departments within procuring entities including end-user departments;
- individual procurement staff and other officials engaged in the procurement process;
Private sector and civil society:
- professional procurement associations;
- the business community;
- civil society organizations;
- citizens and social and economic leaders;
- the media;
- bilateral partners;
- multilateral partners;
- new and emerging donors.
The stakeholders can be mapped according to their relative influence and importance bearing in mind that this may vary at different stages of the transformation process. It can help to present the mapping visually using a matrix.
There is no "one size fits all" approach: communications to the business community would not be the same as for individual procurement staff whose jobs are directly impacted by the process. The plan therefore needs to include a differentiated approach using different channels to engage different stakeholders and with different levels of active participation.
Channels can include newsletters and bulletins, meetings, workshops and individual or group consultations. Depending on the stakeholder, the communication flow may be mainly or entirely one way i.e. keeping the stakeholder informed, or it may be a two-way communication with active involvement and input.
Once the plan is in place it is important to follow through with it. It can be all too easy to get overwhelmed with the practical aspects of planning and conducting an assessment and the communications aspect gets put on the back burner, so it is important to include it in the work-plan along with other activities. It also needs to be revisited regularly as the influence and importance of different stakeholders will shift during the process.
Stakeholder engagement is a continuous process that should take place throughout any capacity development process.