The theoretical claim for stakeholder participation in order to achieve sustainable policy outcomes is prominent in the literature. Empirical evidence substantiating this claim is, however, lacking. The complex characteristics of the concepts of sustainability and participation demand a systematic approach in which method develops from theory. We propose a qualitative assessment approach based on theoretical considerations. We deliberately restrict our approach not to prove causalities but to demonstrate tendencies. Our methodological starting point refines the complex interrelation between collective participation and sustainability by qualitatively assessing the value of the two concepts separately before looking for mutual or opposing trends. Based on theory, both concepts are re-split into two dimensions. Collective participation is re-split into 1. inclusion and 2. influence and sustainability is re-split into 1. the external impact of decisions and 2. the internal capacity to face pressures. For each dimension the approach combines an abstracting point-based scaling system with explanatory narratives. This ensures the comparability of different cases and at the same time the transparency and reliability of the assessment. By matching and comparing the previous scaling results in the end, the assessment procedure explores whether the degree of collective participation and the degree of sustainability are rather synchronic or opposite. We exemplify our approach with an example of local level non-governmental neighbourhood governance in India and review primary data on the agitation for green spaces and slum eviction in Hyderabad. This application outlines the disregard for diversity among stakeholders and the cost-benefit assessment of sustainability as remaining theoretical and methodological items for the amendment of our assessment approach in its current version. After refinement the presented approach is intended for the application on diverse cases of direct decision-making and for the meta- analysis and comparison of secondary case-studies as well as for the analysis of primary qualitative data.