Community engagement is undertaken so the council engages with the community to obtain input into the development of the community strategic plan. Effective community engagement results from a strong partnership between Council and the community. The community is involved in each stage of the strategic planning process, including in the development of alternative strategies, identification of preferred solutions, and prioritisation. It is important to base decisions on evidence-based information and the representative views of the community, rather than for engagement to be dominated by a few vocal community advocates.
Core Values and Underlying Principles
Council’s community engagement strategy is to be based on the principles of equity, rights, access and participation. Council, with its community, must agree on the principles which underpin the engagement process.
- Participation of children and young people
- Engaging with Local Aboriginal Communities – A Resource Kit for Local Government in NSW
- Implementing the Principles of Multiculturalism Locally: a planning framework for councils
Understanding your Community
A first step in the community engagement process is to understand the community in question. Utilising up-to-date demographic data will assist councils to identify specific groups in the community which it may be useful to target.
- Social and Community Planning and Reporting Guidelines
- Social and Community Planning and Reporting Manual
- NSW Government Directory – a link to State agencies which may be useful sources of specific data
Managing Community Expectations
Councils are in a good position to identify many of the key issues for their community. Community engagement provides an opportunity for councils to test their ideas with the community, as well as to clarify the limits to council’s responsibilities and the role of other stakeholders in achieving community goal.
Tips and Tools
These resources may assist councils in their community engagement planning
- Promoting Better Practice Program – Self-Assessment Checklist: Community & Consultation checklist
Guidelines and other Publications
Some of these publications may appear to be out of date as they relate to pre-reform legislative requirements. However, the key concepts contained within them about community engagement remain valid.
- Creating Active Communities: Physical Activity Guidelines for Local Councils (DLG) – provides examples of successful community consultation in project development
- Social and Community Planning and Reporting Manual (DLG) – Part B provides information about