Why is Council setting up a Deliberative Community Panel?

    A future beyond the COVID-19 pandemic may look very different for Maroondah. 

    Understanding what is important for the community and future generations will help Council respond to environmental, social. technological and infrastructure challenges and more.

    The Community Panel will offer an opportunity for up to 40 representative community members who will be provided with enough time and information to take a deeper dive into the issues relating to the future of Maroondah. 

    This Panel, in conjunction with a wider community engagement process, will help to provide Council with a clear direction on the communities values and priorities and will establish a set of recommendations for Council which will be used to inform the following:

    • Maroondah 2040 Vision - check in post COVID -19
    • Council Plan 2021-2025
    • Financial Plan 2021 - 2025
    • Asset Plan

    What is a community panel?

    Establishing a community panel is one method of running a ‘deliberative’ community engagement process.

    A deliberative engagement process puts the community and/or stakeholders affected by a decision at the centre of the decision, and brings citizens closer to decision makers and affairs of government. It’s built around a number of principles. These principles include:

    • A diverse sample of people affected by the decision are selected to participate.
    • Participants are provided with detailed, in-depth information from a range of sources that helps them to understand the issues and options associated with the decision.
    • Participants are given the time and support they need to consider and discuss information and ideas, weigh up issues and options and agree on recommendations.
    • Participants will write their report which is presented directly to Council. The recommendations in their report have will influence outcomes or decisions.

    The Panel will meet up to five times throughout February and March with their discussions supported by professional, independent facilitators. Over these sessions, the Panel will discuss and share ideas based on a wide selection of information, including the results of broader community engagement processes.

    What is involved?

    The Community Panel will meet over five non-consecutive sessions.

    Panel members will receive presentations from a range of Council Officers and subject matter experts, as well as representatives of special interest or community groups. 

    Community Panel members will also participate in interactive, facilitated workshops to analyse data gathered from the broader community engagement and develop recommendations.

    The Panel will work together (with the support of professional facilitators) to consider a wide range of inputs, ideas and evidence, discuss the question and decide a response. This response will be detailed in a report that the panel members will create together and present to Council.

    What happens if I can only attend some of the session dates?

    Unfortunately, we require Panel members to attend all sessions. We understand life happens and unforeseen circumstances that arise during the Panel period will be managed on a case by case basis.

    How is the panel selected?

    All expression of interest applications will be reviewed by Council to ensure the panel represents the diversity of our community. The panel will be made up of people of all ages, and abilities, including residents, workers, volunteers, business owners, rate payers, young adults and students.

    Those that are not selected for the community panel can still take part in the consultation. Everyone will have an opportunity to have their say during the broader engagement process. 

    Who will facilitate the process?

    Council has engaged Max Hardy Consulting Pty Ltd, an experienced facilitator specialising in high influence engagement and deliberative democracy. 

    Max Hardy, assisted by Beverley de Krester will work on a range of facilitation principles including:

    •  promoting informed discussion
    •  enabling everyone to have a chance to participate and contribute
    •  remaining neutral and not having a stake or interest in the content or outcome
    •  responding and adapting to the group’s needs, and 
    • guiding the process in a way that helps the participant to do their work as effectively as possible.

    When will the Panel meet?

    Meeting one - panel meet and greet
    Wednesday 10 February, 7.30pm to 9pm

    Meeting two - panel deliberation
    Sunday 14 February, 10am to 3pm

    Meeting three - small group sessions. Panel members can choose 1 or more themes.
    Sessions will be held from 7.30pm to 9pm on the following dates
    Theme 1 - Wednesday 17 February and Wednesday 3 March,
    Theme 2 - Tuesday 23 February and Tuesday 9 March
    Theme 3 - Wednesday 24 February and Wednesday 10 March
    Theme 4 - Tuesday 2 March and Tuesday 16 March

    Meeting four - final deliberation 
    Sunday 28 March 10am to 3pm

    Where will Panel sessions be held?

    Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, the Maroondah Community Panel will meet both on-line and face to face if appropriate.

    Face to face sessions will be held at the Council Civic Building, Ream, 179 Maroondah Highway Ringwood.

    On-line sessions will be hosted via Zoom or Teams - and links to access these will be made available.