What is community engagement?

    Community engagement is a planned process that provides a range of opportunities for public involvement in Council’s decision making, relationship building and community strengthening. Effective community engagement enables Council to make well-informed decisions at an operational and strategic level and creates a better level of understanding between Council and our community. Community engagement is achieved when the community is and feels part of a process.

    Why does Council need a new Community Engagement Policy?

    Since 2015 our approach to community engagement has been guided by our Community Engagement Policy 2015. 

    In March 2020 a new Local Government Act 2020(External link) was enacted in Victoria. The Act requires all Victorian local governments to update their community engagement policy to gives effect to the principles set out in Section 55 and 56 of the Act. 

    What does a Community Engagement Policy do?

    The Community Engagement Policy will assist Council in developing a consistent approach to community engagement, and will meet the legislative requirements outlined in the new Local Government Act 2020

    The Community Engagement Policy will include:

      • Council's commitment to community engagement
      • Community engagement principles that will guide our approach to effective community engagement
      • Roles and responsibilities for community engagement
      • Other relevant information as required by the Local Government Act 2020

    What is Public Participation?

    Public participation can be any process that directly engages the public in decision-making and gives full consideration to public input in making that decision. The public consists of a range of stakeholders holding an array of views and concerns on an issue.

    What is the IAP2 Spectrum?

    IAP2 stands for the International Association of Public Participation. 

    The IAP2 Public Participation Spectrum is designed to assist with the selection of the level of participation that defines the public's role in any community engagement program. The Spectrum sets out the promise being made to the public at each participation level.

    What is meant by "stakeholder engagement"

    The term stakeholders applies to business, service providers, other levels of government or even community groups

    For the purposes of community engagement, stakeholders are defined as an individual or group with strong interests in the decisions of Council, and are directly impacted by the outcome of Council decisions.

    The new Local Government Act 2020 refers to 'deliberative engagement' - what does this mean?

    Deliberative engagement is an approach which encourages community members to critically test, weigh up and consider a range of information, perspectives, inputs and evidence to reach a consensus or make recommendations. Deliberation can be scaled to suit a project based on its scope, complexity or impact and may require independent facilitation to ensure a fair and equitable process.

    Section 55 (2(g)) in the Local Government Act 2020 specifies that a Community Engagement Policy is required to give effect to deliberative engagement practices capable of being applied to the development of the Community Vision, Council Plan, Financial Plan and Asset Plan.