Draft Whitehorse Community Engagement Policy 2021

Feedback on the Draft Policy is now closed.  The consultation concluded on Monday 1 February 2021 at 5pm.

The draft policy is Council’s commitment to provide the community with opportunities to help to feed into and shape projects, strategies, services and decisions that may affect you.

About the policy

The draft policy outlines how Council will engage with our community. It talks about our principles that underpin our approach to engagement, as well a framework for choosing the best ways to engage our community, including when to use methods, like ‘deliberative’ engagement, tool, like social media, surveys or pop ups.

We recently asked our community and other key stakeholders how you want to be involved in decision making in Whitehorse. Community and key stakeholder inputs, research, requirements of the Act, subject matter expertise, as well as sector and industry standards for best practice community engagement all contributed to the draft policy.

Principles

The draft policy has four guiding principles

  • Inclusive, accessible and constructive participation
  • Clear purpose and scope
  • Transparent, informative and clear
  • Integrity, caring and responsiveness

What you told us in phase one

Thanks to everyone who shared your insights about how we can better involve, inform and empower you in planning and decisions that affect you.

We listened to everything you told us and from your feedback we’ve learnt the five most important ways we could improve are:

  • Being clear and transparent about the process and how your feedback is used
  • Ensuring all engagement is genuine
  • Making it easy for you to provide feedback via a range of methods
  • Better promoting opportunities for you to provide feedback
  • Working more closely with local community organisations, groups and leaders

The Local Government Act 2020

The Local Government Act 2020 (the Act) formally acknowledges the importance of community engagement and requires all councils to adopt a community engagement policy in line with the Act. The Act also prescribes when specific approaches to engagements must be used. Our draft policy aligns with:

  • Section 55 and 56 of the Victorian Local Government Act 2020
  • Victorian Auditor General’s Office - Better practice guide: Public Participation in Government Decision Making
  • The International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) model of community engagement

Next steps

Your feedback from this consultation round with help us revise and finalise the proposed policy. We will ask Council to endorse the policy March 2021.

Once the policy is finalised, we will use all of our feedback to date to develop an Engagement Handbook. The handbook will provide details about how to design and deliver community engagement plans, including the method and tools, how to promote the opportunities and which local community members, organisations, groups or leaders may be well placed to contribute.

We’ll be asking for your insights again in early 2021 on the draft handbook.

For more information on this project, or community engagement opportunities at Whitehorse visit the Your Say Whitehorse page.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the draft Community Engagement policy 2021, call us on 9262 6333 or email renee.andresson@whitehorse.vic.gov.au.

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