'A genuine process of working with people to build understanding, strengthen relationships and inform decisions'.
Community engagement is how Council connects with community to develop and implement policies, programs and services that work towards positive outcomes for individuals and the wider community.
It covers a wide variety of Council/community interactions, ranging from information sharing through to active participation in policy development, decision making and advocacy processes.
Transparent and well managed community engagement is essential. Not only does it enable people to have a say on matters that are important to them and actively participate in decision making, but by working together to understand needs, problems and risks and craft solutions, together community and Council can continually build a better Banyule.
The purpose of the Community Engagement Policy 2020 is to document and communicate our commitment to, principles for and practice approach to the provision of high-quality community engagement that is valued by the community and stakeholders.
Our community engagement commitment is to:
- Encourage trust, goodwill and respect between Council, community and stakeholders,
- Inform, involve and engage our community and stakeholders and develop processes to encourage community participation in shaping and influencing decisions affecting them; and
- Promote and practice good governance through accountability, transparency and responsiveness.
About the project
After 18 months of collaborative development the the Banyule Community Engagement Policy 2020 was adopted by Council in September 2020. The Community Engagement Policy 2020 replaces our existing Community Engagement Framework that guided our work in this space for many years.
Banyule, like many other local governments, have been undertaking quality community engagement for a long time. The value and importance of community engagement has been formally recognised by being included in the new Victorian Local Government Act 2020. It is a requirement of the new Act that all Council's develop and adopt a Community Engagement Policy.
Together with our Community Engagement Toolkit, an internal resource, the Community Engagement Policy, provides guidelines, advice and resources for strategic and statutory engagement opportunities and for the use and sharing of community engagement findings.
The Policy has been developed based on community and stakeholder input, research, subject matter expertise, consideration to industry standards and community expectations.
It aligns with:
- Victorian Local Government Act 2020 (sections 55 and 56)
- Victorian Auditor General's Office Better Practice Guide: Public Participation in Government Decision-making
- International Association of Public Participation Spectrum
To ensure that 'people' are central to all community engagement design decisions and activity we apply a set of principles as we move through all stages in an engagement process, from start to finish.
The table below details our principles, engagement stages and the key actions at each of those stages
For a more detailed description of each principle please refer to page 10 of the Policy.
Engagement Principles, Stages and Actions
Transparency and integrity
Identify the purpose of the engagement.
Understand the community and stakeholders, who they are, their interests, values and opportunities for engagement.
Design an appropriate engagement approach.
Deliver genuine and respectful engagement.
Review and interpret the engagement information and data.
Use the outcomes of the engagement to inform the project.
Provide feedback on the engagement process, findings, outcomes and decisions.
Learn by measuring the effectiveness of the engagement.
Share the learnings from the engagement.
What we did
A comprehensive engagement program was undertaken to inform the development of the draft Community Engagement Policy 2020.
Including community consultation as a component of the annual Council Plan Engagement Program in 2019, 2018 and 2017. This involved interactive consultation stations at community events such as Malahang Festival, Carols by Candlelight and Movies on the Move, along with online surveys on Shaping Banyule.
Throughout these activities the views of over 3100 individuals were captured and utilised.
Extensive consultation with internal stakeholders was also undertaken including; Councillor engagement, surveys, workshops and working groups.