The Victorian Local Government Act 2020 (LG Act) states that a community engagement policy must give effect to five principles that ensure engagement is defined, objective, representative, supported and informed.
Council’s current Community Engagement Policy was adopted in 2014 and has a focus on building relationships and seeking diverse community opinions. Council’s draft 2021 policy builds on this focus, and includes the LG Act principles to outline how we use community engagement to inform Council decisions.
Under the LG Act, what’s known as deliberative engagement must be used to allow community the ability to influence Council’s strategic direction. Council has included deliberative engagement practices in the new policy and will apply them to the development of the following key strategic documents:
- Community Vision
- Council Plan
- Financial Plan
- Asset Plan.
Not all matters have equal importance for the community, the ‘Level of Engagement’ model in the policy shows community the five levels or roles we’ll apply to include community in the decision-making process.
The five levels refer to the community’s ability to influence a decision, the levels are; Inform, Consult, Involve, Collaborate, Empower. Deliberative engagement occurs at the Involve, Collaborate and Empower levels.