The Participatory Governance Index (PGI) is a rubric comprising categories and criteria designed to help government officials understand the components of a healthy government engagement system.

A system of government engagement is a network of structures, policies, plans, and commitments designed to foster participatory governance—which is when public input and feedback is incorporated into official systems and structures, leading to more effective policymaking, greater trust between government and residents, and healthier democracies. A well-known system of government engagement is participatory budgeting, where residents have direct influence over the budget of their town or city.

Individuals, small groups, and even whole organizations can use the PGI to explore key concepts and understand how their daily engagement work relates to those concepts.

The PGI is also an assessment tool that public officials can use to:

  • Better understand their system’s successes and challenges within each engagement category or across categories
  • Plan or prioritize development
  • Bring officials and residents together for conversation around shared values

Check out the accompanying user guide for information on the PGI’s criteria and usage.

The four areas measured by the PGI are:

Structures Icon Green

Engagement structures: patterned or organized opportunities for engagement that support cross-sector and government-community collaborations.

Commitments Icon Teal

Commitment to engagement: investment in engagement as a core value that guides efforts to promote participation.

Opportunities Icon Purple

Opportunities for engagement: participation that is normalized and embedded into decision-making and that guides citizen-centered governance strategies.

Community building: engagement processes that foster meaningful connections between and within communities.