Engagement Scale

Brief – Who will you include in your consultations to ensure the aims are widely shared.  How in-depth will your consultation be with each group of stakeholders?

The next tool has been adapted from the work of Hart (1992)[i] and the work of Arstein (1969)[ii]. It is to help schools in the process of sharing these core aims to a wider audience in ways that drive ownership and engagement.  The school has to draw up a list of stakeholders and then apply this engagement scale to each group.  This allows the school to chart its progress towards engaging more stakeolders more deeply.

For example if the stakeholder group was students then this ‘engagement scale’ would help chart the progress towards learner centred working.  It is also a progression ladder which allows a school to take smaller steps towards greater engagement rather than large unsustainable changes that can then not be maintained.

The ‘Informed’ stakeholders you share information with in a one way stream  –

Those ‘Asked’ have chance to give feedback on the information you give them

The ‘Consulted’ group see how their feedback was considered by you

Listened to’ stakeholders give their feedback in person and argue their case.

‘Involved’ stakeholders ideas are then consulted on by other groups.

Stakeholders can ‘Co-develop’ if they are given some authority to take their ideas forward by for example being invited onto a project management board

Stakeholders gain ‘Ownership’ when they are entrusted with the resources to drive their ideas and effect policy








For wide agreement and a set of core aims that are ‘alive’ throughout the organisation there needs to be a systematic way of improving engagement by all stakeholders gradually over time.  It is better for an organisation to recognise that in reality it is currently just informing learners about changes to their school rather than to pretend that learners are actively involved.  Recognising the current position and then taking steps to move up the scale over time is more sustainable and measurable than attempting to achieve engagement through a number of one-off events and initiatives.

The diagram below shows an example of an engagement scale.  The red shaded areas are the targets for expansion this year.

Moving towards greater coverage of such a chart may take many years.  A similar scale can also be used for any policy or discussion that it is felt requires wide consultation.

Once you feel that the current level of stakeholder engagement is appropriate the next step is to change these aims into more robust ‘Pillars’.  For this you need to first consider the strategy (see step 2) and then the implementation (see step 3).

[i] 1992, 1997,  Hart, R. Children’s Participation: From Tokenism to Citizenship. UNICEF 1992 Hart, R. Children’s Participation: The Theory And Practice Of Involving Young Citizens In Community Development And Environmental Care


[ii]  Arnstein, S. A ladder of citizen participation. Journal of the American

Institute of Planners,35:216–24. 1969


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