Feedback sought on Draft Community Engagement Policy
Nillumbik Shire Council is seeking further community input into its Community Engagement Policy after the draft policy was endorsed by Council to be put out for public consultation.
The draft policy will be open for public comment and submission until 26 January 2021, and Council would like extensive community feedback as it works toward finalising and adopting this key document.
Changes to the Victorian Local Government Act in March 2020, have made it mandatory for all councils to have a community engagement policy in place by 1 March 2021.
The draft policy marks the second phase of a community consultation process and follows a survey conducted in October and November. The survey sought the community’s views on how it would like to be engaged, the issues on which it wanted to be engaged and obtained feedback on barriers to engagement.
The draft policy was informed by responses to the survey, as well as by direct feedback sought and obtained from various community groups.
Nillumbik Mayor Peter Perkins said the Community Engagement Policy would guide Council’s aim of ensuring and strengthening closer collaboration with the community on a range of key issues.
“The Community Engagement Policy sets out the way Council will consult and interact with the community in its planning and decision-making. It is vitally important with a document of this scope that the community be given the opportunity to provide input into its development,” Cr Perkins said.
“We’ve reached the busy end of what has been a very difficult year, but we’re committed to giving every member of our community – regardless of age, gender, where you live in the Shire or what you do for a living – the chance to have your say on how you’d like to be engaged by Council.”
“This policy will provide the foundation to ensure our community is at the centre of all Council decisions.”
The draft policy is underpinned by the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) framework. The framework emphasises that community engagement should: Inform; Consult; Involve; Collaborate; and Empower.
Also included in the draft policy is a commitment to apply deliberative engagement practices as required by legislation.
Among the key features of deliberative engagement is that it must be:
Representative in the sense that it involves a representative cross-section of the community, usually selected at random – with the aim of maximizing inclusion
Deliberative: allowing for extended consideration of a key question; and
Influential: Participants will be informed of the level of influence the community engagement process will have on Council decision-making.
Examples of when Council may undertake deliberative engagement include the long term Community Visions, Four-Year Council plans, financial management plans, Asset Management Plans and in projects of significant scope, complexity and impact.
To obtain a copy of the draft community engagement policy and to have your say, visit participate.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/community-engagement You can also attend a virtual community conversation and feedback session on 14 January 2021 by registering at https://www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/community-conversations or calling 9433 3345 before 26 January 2021.