At the Ordinary Council meeting 23 June 2022, Council endorsed its Community Engagement Policy and Framework.
The Policy and Framework is Council’s commitment to the community for better decision making through engagement that is values-based and goal-driven. Council acknowledges the significant demographic and geographic diversity of its Local Government Area, and is committed to ensuring residents, business owners and other stakeholders are informed and have opportunities to contribute to shaping Council projects, policies and plans. Community engagement that is transparent, representative and builds capacity is fundamental to developing an ongoing community-Council relationship based on trust and accountability.
Council’s overarching engagement approach is guided by the social justice principles of equity, access, participation and rights.
Council’s approach to engagement is also underpinned by a set of principles that define what members of the community should reasonably expect from Council when it is engaging on its projects, policies or plans. These principles are integrated into the planning, design and delivery of our engagement processes:
- Flexible – Council's 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 from within Council, drawing on existing networks and relationships. There is no “one size fits all” approach.
- Respectful – Council’s engagement is respectful of the diverse views in our community and the many ways people like to be engaged. Council acknowledges people’s input by reporting back on how their views may have informed Council decisions. Council will protect the safety of its stakeholders and staff at all times.
- Credible – Council is open, honest and transparent when engaging with stakeholders. Council’s engagement is based on a foundation of authenticity and an evidence-based understanding of our community’s needs and preferences.
- Collaborative – Council’s engagement is a joint effort across Council teams and community, which means building relationships with stakeholders, including hard-to-reach groups, and keeping them involved in 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 Council’s Engagement Framework.
- Educational – Council’s 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 stakeholders and communities from its overarching annual Operational Plan to specific projects, policies and plans.
- Evaluated – Council’s engagement processes will be reviewed, measured and refined in response to feedback from the communities.
Council’s community engagement principles are based on the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2).