Engagement is an umbrella term that covers a range of deliberate activities in which an organisation or programme interacts with those in some way affected by its work. These include the use of engagement as a research methodology, as an approach to public education, as part of a strategy to influence policy or simply as a means of maintaining good relationships with neighbours. What characterises such activities as engagement is a desire to involve the intended audiences in two- way relationships. Such relationships may not always be entirely linear or defined in advance. For example, some engagement activities may be designed to promote a public discussion of issues, the nature of and participation in which may not be known in advance.  Although usually used in the context of government departments or external organisations engaging with a community of interest to them, the reverse – specialist organisations or groups organised around geographic or thematic areas of interest wishing to engage with and influence powerful forces operating in the same environment – also constitutes engagement.