Council with strengthen and coordinate its approach to community engagement, following the endorsement of the Community Engagement Policy.
The policy will coordinate Council’s approach for all engagement activities with the community.
It outlines who Council will engage with – including why, how and when we will engage – to ensure that a coordinated and consistent approach is taken across all areas of Council, and that the community is at the heart of all decision making.
Chandler Ward Councillor, David Eastham, said that Council and the community were aware of the importance of good engagement on projects.
“Speaking with the community, I think community engagement and how Council engages with the community on a variety of projects has been a hot topic,” he said.
“I think the policy is well-written and it’s important to note that it will help bring to life what’s required under the new Local Government Act, including deliberative engagement.
“If we can stick by what’s in this policy, I believe that we will really exceed and excel in community engagement as a Local Government.”
To create the policy, we used community feedback from our Community Engagement Service Review in 2018, from drop-in sessions in February and March 2021, printed and online surveys and presentations to our Disability Advisory Committee, Indigenous Advisory Committee and the Upwey Township Group.
We heard from the community that:
- Engagement opportunities, such as surveys and design feedback, need to be better promoted so more people in the community can participate – particularly those with poor access to digital channels.
- Projects need to consider people who travel from other locations to use a space, a park or a facility. On the other hand, some participants said Council needed to listen more to feedback from local people, who would be directly impacted by a decision or project.
- Recognising the importance of community stakeholders’ feedback when determining Council projects and programs.
- Council needs to get better at closing the loop – explaining how feedback influenced or informed decisions or projects.
Council staff and Councillors have also provided feedback on the draft Community Engagement Policy. All of this feedback has helped to shape the final version endorsed on 27 April.
The Community Engagement Policy will now be launched and implemented across Council and tested across a range of projects over the next 12-18 months.