At the Ordinary Council meeting 30 April 2019, Council endorsed its Community Engagement Policy and Framework.
The Policy and Framework is Council’s commitment to the community for better decision making through an engagement program that is values-based and goal-driven. Council acknowledges the significant demographic and geographic diversity of its community, and is committed to ensuring residents and business owners are informed and have opportunities to contribute to shaping Council projects, plans and decisions. Community engagement that is transparent, representative and that builds capacity is fundamental to developing an ongoing community-Council relationship based on trust and accountability.
Our approach to engagement is underpinned by a set of principles that define what members of the community should reasonably expect from Council when it is engaging on its plans, policies or projects. These principles are integrated into the planning, design and delivery of our engagement processes.
- Flexible – our engagement provides members of the community with multiple opportunities to get involved, in ways that are socially and culturally appropriate. Engagement is also designed and delivered by a range of teams within Council, drawing on their existing networks and relationships.There is no “one size fits all” approach.
- Respectful – our engagement is respectful of the diverse views in our community and the many ways people like to be engaged. We acknowledge people’s input by reporting back on how their views have informed our decisions and, if they haven’t, why. We will protect the safety of our stakeholder and staff at all times.
- Credible – we are open, honest and transparent in engaging with our stakeholders. Our engagement is based on a foundation of authenticity and an evidence-based understanding of our community’s needs and preferences.
- Collaborative – our engagement is a joint effort across Council teams and between Council and community, which means building relationships with stakeholders, including hard-to-reach groups, and keeping them involved in our activities.
- Consistent – engagement is the business of everyone in Council and is delivered by many people across our organisation. Engagement should be delivered in a planned and consistent way, in line with our Engagement Framework – our stakeholders know what to expect when engaging with us.
- Educational – our engagement is supported by tools, processes and expertise that enhance the skills of Council staff and build the capacity of community members and other stakeholders to engage.
- Embedded – engagement underpins all of Council’s strategic and operational work that is likely to impact on our stakeholders and communities (whether positively or negatively), from its overarching annual Operational Plan to specific plans, projects and policies.
- Evaluated – our engagement processes will be reviewed, measured and refined in response to feedback from our communities.
Our Community Engagement principles are consistent with international best practice, most notably the International Association of Public Participation’s (IAP2) Core Values. IAP2 core values identify those aspects of public participation which cross national, cultural, and religious boundaries.