Community engagement resources

Over the past few weeks, Local Government Victoria has worked with members of the sector regarding the approach to community engagement. We've listened to your feedback (the results of this are found below) and we are providing some sample policies that have been shared by councils.

These good practice Community Engagement Policies address the Local Government Act 2020 community engagement requirements. They can be used to assist in developing your council's community engagement policy.

If you have a policy that you would also like to share, or would like to submit any other suggestions regarding how we can achieve good practice in community engagement, please submit them below.

Community Engagement - Co-design Conversation

On 16 July 2020, LGV hosted a panel of experienced sector representatives discussing their work developing their community engagement policy.

Achieving good practice in community engagement

Our key motivation is to support the sector with the opportunity to lead the implementation and determine - through co-design processes – the products and materials that best meet your needs.

The approach of co-design was presented in the first workshops:

  • Identification of ideas - complete
  • Agreement of the product/s to be developed
  • Establish the approach to develop product/s
  • Customer testing and feedback
  • Refinement and finalisation
  • Publication
The Local Government Act 2020 states that each council must adopt and maintain a Community Engagement Policy. This policy must be in place by 1 March 2021. Community engagement seeks to better engage the community to achieve long-term and sustainable outcomes, processes, relationships, discourse, decision-making, or implementation. To be successful, it must encompass strategies and processes that are sensitive to the community-context in which it occurs. Here is the link to the Local Government Victoria web page which shows the Community Engagement Principle. Councils must, at a minimum, apply their community engagement policy in the development of the following: planning and financial management, community vision, council plan, financial plan, revenue and rating planning, asset plan. From the online workshops, we developed your ideas into these themes:
  • Glossary of clearly defined terms and FAQs
  • Good practice guide, including
    • innovative examples
    • examples from other jurisdictions
    • peer review
    • guidelines on minimum acceptable engagement
  • Reference guides for different council departments and activities, minimum best practice for these
  • Evaluation
    • resources for embedding evaluation in planning
    • peer review resources/guide
    • audit
  • Case studies
    • Full case studies, including evaluation (e.g. MCC citizen juries)
  • Mandated community engagement
    • Advice for consultation in areas that are legislated (e.g. selling land) and for reaching the communities that need to know this
    • Guidelines on where and how engagement principles replace section 223 exhibition requirements
  • Engagement activities
    • Advice on types of engagement activities, when best to use, scalable options/spectrum of activities for councils with fewer resources
    • Guides pitched at three levels – staff, councillors, executives
    • Practical tips and ideas
  • Technology
    • Availability, use, guidelines for use from experience
  • Minimum requirements
    • Guidelines on minimum acceptable engagement
  • Good pictures and info graphics available to use for staff and councillors

  • Community champions
  • Comms/tools to assist in “educating” community about engagement and empower participants to participate fully and have shared expectations for outcomes
  • Resources on how to encourage community participation
  • Resources for engaging “hard to reach” communities
  • Opportunities for peer review
  • Training
    • Including for staff with a variety of roles
    • Hard to reach communities (also see Engaging Communities, above)
    • Training packages
  • Building genuine buy-in from council leadership and areas of council that don’t traditionally use community engagement
  • Engagement Portal that houses example policies, processes, better practise case studies, a forum to exchange ideas and seek feedback and support, templates, guidelines.
  • Standard approach for whole sector to enable benchmarking and comparisonResources that meet the requirements of both the Act and other requirements, e.g. VAGO, rate capping, IAP2 etc
  • Clarity, honesty and transparency

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