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New policy aims to give everyone a voice

New policy aims to give everyone a voice

Friday, March 05, 2021

A new community Engagement Policy will enhance the way residents are involved in Council’s decision-making processes when it comes to projects, plans and other activities.

Chair Administrator Ms Lydia Wilson said great community engagement can happen anywhere via a multiplicity of channels and would ultimately drive better community outcomes.

“We believe good community engagement leads to better decision-making, helping foster the long-term relationship between community and Council and ultimately quality outcomes for our City,” Ms Wilson said.

“This Community Engagement Policy is our commitment to actively involve the people who matter the most – those living, working, studying and doing business within the City of Whittlesea.

“Through a range of approaches and opportunities, we will seek to empower our community to play a role in influencing the future planning of our City, and the delivery or our services.

“To do this we will engage in a meaningful way when it is convenient for you, in a safe and accessible environment, where you feel heard.”

The Community Engagement Policy aligns with Council’s obligations under the Local Government Act 2020. The policy goes beyond the five principals set out in the Act, Council’s community engagement will:

  • Where appropriate, be planned and delivered in a coordinated way
  • Have clearly defined objective and scope
  • Give participants access to objective, relevant and timely information to inform their contributions
  • Provide the community with reasonable support and adjustments so that they can meaningfully participate
  • Be conducted with persons/groups that are representative of the persons/groups affected by the matter with which Council is engaging the community
  • Inform participants of how community engagement will influence Council decision-making on the matter that is the subject of the engagement
  • Specify how the community will be informed of the outcome and how their input has influenced a decision
  • Be evaluated to improve future engagements
  • Always be open and welcoming of input through structured opportunities, programs and processes or less structured via views and aspirations expre4ssed when engaging with Council
  • Close the loop with participants.

“We will use a range of community engagement methods to suit different situations, issues, settings and communities,” Ms Wilson said.

“Residents will be able to participate in surveys, polls, ideas boards, join community advisory committees and much more.

“We also welcome feedback anytime, anywhere. Our range of communications channels exist to hear your views whether they come via social media, our website, phone calls or provided verbally to an Administrator or Council officer.”

A four-year strategy and implementation plan will be developed, aligned with the next Council Plan 2021-25, with key performance indicators to evaluate the effectiveness of the Policy.

The Policy will be reviewed by 2022.

Read the Policy