This spectrum of levels of involvement was developed by Health Canada and it helps to illustrate the many different approaches to community participation.
Level 1: A health service may use websites, media releases, brochures and reports to inform or educate the community about health issues. This communication is one-way from the health service to the community.
Level 2: The information flow is still mainly one-way, but with information gathering it flows from community members to the organisation through activities such as surveys and focus groups.
Level 3: Discussions between the public and health service provide an opportunity for community members to influence decision making, some examples include, community forums, discussion papers and workshops.
Level 4: Engagement includes activities, such as advisory committees, where there is enough time for community participants to develop their capacity to provide informed advice on topical issues and concerns.
Level 5: Partnerships are formed so that community members and staff can work together to solve problems of mutual interest, for example design teams and boards.