Amended Draft Community Engagement Policy endorsed by Council

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Consultation has concluded

City of Ballarat’s amended draft "Community Engagement Policy" was endorsed by Council on Wednesday 24 February, 2021.

The Officer Report and amended Community Engagement Policy can be found on pages 144-157 here Council Meeting Agenda - 24Feb2021. The final endorsed Policy will be available for viewing on Council's website in the near future.

We thank all those who participated, and we appreciate your contribution towards continuously improving how we do engagement.



Consultation snapshot

  • There were 65 responses to the online survey and six written submissions received.
  • Feedback can be summarised by the following four statements:

The Policy should

  1. explicitly

City of Ballarat’s amended draft "Community Engagement Policy" was endorsed by Council on Wednesday 24 February, 2021.

The Officer Report and amended Community Engagement Policy can be found on pages 144-157 here Council Meeting Agenda - 24Feb2021. The final endorsed Policy will be available for viewing on Council's website in the near future.

We thank all those who participated, and we appreciate your contribution towards continuously improving how we do engagement.



Consultation snapshot

  • There were 65 responses to the online survey and six written submissions received.
  • Feedback can be summarised by the following four statements:

The Policy should

  1. explicitly state that its purpose is to outline Council’s commitment to engaging community in Council decision-making.
  2. articulate that engagement is an inclusive process that seeks input from a diverse range of community members, particularly those most affected by a decision and including those who face barriers to engagement.
  3. articulate that engagement must be authentic where community can influence decision-making.
  4. outline how Council will report back to participants and the public following engagement. Community want to know what feedback was received and how it was considered in decision-making. This was the most common feedback received.

Actions implemented

Key changes made to the Policy based on feedback received as a result of the MySay consultation are:

a. Inclusion in Section 1 (Purpose) that the Policy ‘outlines Council’s commitment and approach to engaging community in decision-making.’

b. Inclusion in Section 1 (Purpose) that the Policy promotes ‘inclusive community engagement, recognising the rich knowledge and experience of Ballarat’s diverse community.’

c. More detail added to the scope of the Policy (Section 2), outlining where community engagement must be undertaken and where it may not be undertaken.

d. Introduction and definition of the terms ‘participatory engagement’ and ‘deliberative engagement.’

e. Collation of the IAP2 Spectrum of Engagement, and the table outlining examples of the use of the different levels of engagement, into a single table in Section 3.2.

f. Broadening of the list of potential stakeholders in Section 3.3.

g. Elaboration of Engagement Plan inclusions in Section 3.3 including prompts to consider accessibility for people that face barriers to engagement; prompts regarding the collection and storage of data; and prompts regarding the planning of evaluation and feedback processes.

h. Inclusion of the statement that ‘all engagement processes should involve the provision of feedback to participants’ (Section 3.4). Where a decision is to be raised at a Council meeting, the date of the Council meeting will be published online. The agenda for said meeting is also published online. Following the relevant decision, a summary of feedback will also be made available online for public viewing and sent directly to those who elected to leave contact details.

i. Inclusion in responsibilities of Councillors, Executive Leadership Team and Council Officers that they will consider community engagement outcomes in decision making (Section 3.5).

j. General editing and reorganisation of some content.

For more detailed information, refer to the Survey Results and Submissions Received under "Documents". Alternatively you can contact the Community Engagement team via email at communityengagement@ballarat.vic.gov.au


Click here to write your Submission

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Thank-you Peter for the opportunity to make a submission to the Draft Community Engagement Policy.
The Policy covers most areas, and I agree with other submissions regarding inclusion as a possible addition to the document. Your engagement processes should be designed to be inclusive and not just involve people.

Some general observations:
1. Purpose when is Council accountable for its engagement? Where does transparency sit with in this Policy? Should these be explored further?
2. Scope of the policy is narrow and focuses on ‘communication and marketing activities’. I am not sure it will embed engagement in the whole of Council. If a council activity is straightforward and requires little or no communication / marketing activities, will this Policy apply to it? Should the whole of council be encouraged to use this Policy to ensure community is included whenever possible. Should you highlight activities when engagement is mandatory, limited etc.
3. The timeframes for engagement. From my experience, some council projects only include community engagement as an activity in the first planning stages of any project / activity or when initially promoting it. (Just tick the box) Is there a need to build ongoing engagement expectations into the policy and templates for changes? What happens when a project extends over a longer time frame, are multiple engagement activities required / expected?
4. Who will be responsible for follow up engagement and if there is a need to review the engagement after the project is finished to ensure sustainable outcomes?
5. This leads to capacity building for the community. Should there be some element of strengthening community capacity and broadening relationships in all engagement?
6. How do you capture the stakeholders with experience in engagement? This would help policy users know what is expected when identifying the ‘Who’ for engagement? Often it is the same few people or groups, is there an intent to broaden the Councils’ stakeholders base? Could you possibly include a list of suggested groups and organisations for staff to consider? For example schools, art groups, children, careers, etc
7. By doing this you can demonstrate how to get greater diversity as the policy talks about diversity but doesn’t actually indicate how that might happen.

Errors and possible changes
• 3.1 First objective. Maybe it should read ‘ensuring outcomes that reflect community input which benefit the community’. Using ‘their input’ might lead people to think their input is not valued if the engagement process does not support a particular point of view.
• 3.4 Who – If you are going to list types of diversity then make sure you have then all or better to perhaps include them in the definitions. Also, you could include community and NFP organisations, and other levels of government and relevant departments.
• 4.3 Definition of Participation – should read ‘activities to help’ not activities the help’
• Should the Privacy Act be mentioned given you will be collecting information from stakeholders during the engagement process?

Regards Vicki
Vicki Coltman
Executive Officer, Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre
manager@ballaratnc.org.au

BNC 9 months ago

From: Ballarat African Association Committee of Mgt.
Sent: Tuesday, 22 December 2020 5:42 PM
To: Jenny Sheriff
Cc: 'Dr Michael Akindeju'
Subject: RE: Have Your Say on our Draft Community Engagement Policy - closes on 13 Jan 2021
Importance: High



Dear Jenny,

Thank you for the opportunity to make inputs for the “Community Engagement Policy. The draft is well articulated and well set-out.

I do however feel that it focuses on diversity as oppose to inclusion.

As an intercultural city, it is high time CoB go beyond Diversity (as in Multiculturalism where we simply recognise the presence of many cultures) to active inclusion (where we place value on the benefits that present cultures bring and contribute, and we actively integrate those values into our planning, implementations and public spaces).

As currently articulated in the draft, it would seem there are no active engagement protocols included to ensure the participation and authentic engagement of stakeholders (target groups). I noted that CoB is guided by IAP2. IAP2 does embody active and authentic stakeholder engagement and management, and puts the onus for initiating and ensuring engagements on the principal party (i.e. CoB).

Would it be reasonable then to put that CoB need to, in this policy, make provisions for active and authentic engagement protocols that ensure that such do actually and actively occur as oppose to being notional?

Regards,

Dr Michael Akindeju
PhD, CEng, CChem, RPEQ, PgD (Banking& Fin), FIChemE, SMAIChE, MAusIMM, MRACI
President
Ballarat African Association [A0050010N]

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Jenny Sheriff 10 months ago

I want to chime in with the point that Rob made, that “LGBTIQA+” would be a good addition to the list of diverse people in the “Who” section in section 3.4. With 9.6% of the Ballarat community being LGBTIQA+, it is really important that we are consulted on the issues that affect us. Even better, the Policy could commit to the establishment of an LGBTIQA+ Advisory Committee so our voices can really be heard!

Sean Mulcahy 10 months ago

To the Executive Manager Engaged Communities,

Please find enclosed my feedback on the Draft Community Engagement Policy due on 13 January 2021. Overall, I think it is a good policy. Some parts are a tad loose and vague but I think the intent, detail and content in the policy is excellent. In particular, I liked the committed actions listed in section 3.2, “a typical Project Engagement Plan” and the roles and responsibilities section.
S
There are three inclusions I would like to see added to the policy:

I thought the purpose should have included the dot point: “Provide a framework to listen to the community and incorporate the needs and desires of the community into Council policies and practices”. There was no mention of this core idea in the purpose.

I think it is important that informed opinions are included in any community consultation process. This includes community groups involved with the issue, employees or volunteers working on the ground and experts in the field. It is important to get the average person’s opinion, but if we really want the best ideas incorporated into our policies, we want to ask the community members with the most informed opinions and experience on the issues. This point is touched upon in section 3.6 as one of the responsibilities of community members (to “share local knowledge, values and expertise”). However, at a minimum, I would like to see it a responsibility of council employees to actively seek out those community members with local knowledge and expertise.

It was great to see the policy strive to incorporate diverse opinions. Given that Ballarat has the 5th highest percentage of LGBTIQA+ people out of the 79 LGAs in Victoria, I think “LGBTIQA+” would be a good addition to the list of diverse people in the “Who” section in section 3.4.

Thanks for your time. I hope these ideas improve the plan.

Kind regards,

Robert Kozlovski

Robert Kozlovski 10 months ago