U.S. NRC Blog

Transparent, Participate, and Collaborate

Improving Public Meetings with New Facilitators and Policy Statement

Lance Rakovan
Senior Communications Specialist

It’s been a while since I first addressed the topic of NRC facilitators in a blog post; however we recently brought a new group of facilitators into the NRC’s In-House Meeting Facilitator & Advisor Program and I thought the occasion was worth mentioning.

The NRC's latest public meeting facilitators area ready to step into their new roles

The NRC’s latest public meeting facilitators are ready to step into their new roles.

The purpose of the program is to help make meetings and outreach more effective, inclusive and fair, and to increase NRC’s capacity to collaborate and solve problems with both internal and external stakeholders.

Program facilitators are NRC staff who assist in planning, preparing for and conducting meetings. They help with meetings as a collateral duty (in other words, in addition to their primary jobs). When asked why they would add to their workload by joining this program, facilitators said they’re looking for new challenges and to expand their skill set. But more importantly, they said they’re looking for new ways to help the NRC accomplish its mission.

The new facilitators, the fourth group of staff to enter the program, or “Gen4,” forged ties while completing four days of training. The training was intensive and, as you would expect, featured many opportunities for participants to test out their collaboration skills in a safe environment. Next step is for them to work with experienced facilitators for additional on-the-job training on their way to becoming “fully credentialed” members of the NRC’s Facilitator Corps.

While on the subject of public meetings, let me update you on the status of the Commission Policy Statement on Public Meetings. As I mentioned in my September 19, 2016, blog post, the NRC has drafted a new Commission policy statement on public meetings and sought public comment to make sure it hits the mark. The new policy statement is meant to re-affirm the importance of public participation in NRC’s public meetings and address a number of concerns noted previously by the public and NRC staff.

publicopinionnewI’ve seen some of the comments and there are some great ideas being provided. The policy statement is meant to be “50,000 feet” kind of guidance, so not all the ideas provided in the comments will be reflected in the final version of the policy statement, but the majority of them will certainly be incorporated into some level of NRC guidance, such as the next revision to NRC Management Directive 3.5, “Attendance at NRC Staff-Sponsored Meetings.”

Stay tuned for more information on the status of the policy statement. And look for our new facilitators at the next public meeting you attend.

3 responses to “Improving Public Meetings with New Facilitators and Policy Statement

  1. Dan Williamson December 14, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Mr. Rakovan

    Could you share with us whatever new guidance may be forthcoming on dealing with “members” of the public who make it obvious that they’re in the building for no other reason than to create a disturbance? For instance, see http://atomicinsights.com/agencies-should-not-allow-creation-of-a-hostile-environment-at-public-meetings.

    • Moderator December 16, 2016 at 1:16 pm

      With the goal of helping ensure the environment at our public meetings is one where all attendees can participate without feeling harassed, the NRC plans to create and adopt a high-level “rules of etiquette” for NRC meetings. The document will include a statement that all those who attend agree to follow the rules.

      Lance Rakovan

      • Dan Williamson December 19, 2016 at 6:54 am

        It may be noble to take the high road, but this has the flavor of putting up a “gun-free” zone around a school. It’s not the law-abiding citizens you have to prepare for….you have to write your contingencies for those that do not agree to follow your rules. What will the facilitators be prepared to do when the anarchists show up?

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