What is community engagement?
Community engagement is a planned process with the specific purpose of working with the community to shape the decisions or actions of Council in relation to a problem, opportunity or outcome. An engaged community is a community that is and feels part of the process.
Who makes up our community?
The Waverley community is taken to include any individual, group or organisation that is impacted by, or has an interest in, the decisions or initiatives of Council, including but not limited to:
- Business owners
- People working in the area
- Visitors to the area
- Education institutions
- Users of Council services
- Council’s advisory committees
- Resident associations including precinct committees and chambers of commerce
- Service providers
- Other levels of government, government agencies and statutory bodies
- Local and regional associations and peak bodies
- Community organisations
Our community is diverse, with people of all ages, cultural backgrounds and abilities. Council is committed to ensuring all groups within the community have fair and equal access to participate and have a say.
Why do we engage with our Community?
Community engagement is a collaborative process that connects Council with the community in the sharing of ideas, skills, knowledge, expertise and experience. There are a broad range of benefits to effective and authentic community engagement. Engaging with the community:
- Ensures the community can exercise their democratic right to have a say in decisions that affect them
- Increases the effectiveness of Council’s decision-making processes
- Ensures we are providing the services and infrastructure the community needs
- Builds the capacity of the community to be active in shaping the future of Waverley
- Develops strong relationships and partnerships with our community, leading to a shared understanding of our community’s needs, aspirations and priorities
- Builds the reputation of Council as a trusted organisation within the community
- Mitigates and reduces risks associated with not understanding community sentiment
- Helps direct Council’s advocacy efforts
- Meets Council’s legislative requirements
How do we engage with our community
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to community engagement. The level of influence the community will have and the range of engagement methods Council uses will depend on the nature of the matter being considered and the range of stakeholders involved.The Community Engagement Strategy, once developed, will provide the community and council with a road map for how and when community can have input into the decisions of council.
What is a Community Engagement Policy?
The purpose of the Policy will be to provide a framework for Council’s community engagement activities.
The Policy will state Council's commitment to community engagement and set out values and principles to guide our approach.
What is a Community Engagement Strategy?
The Strategy guide staff in determining the level of engagement that is appropriate to each project or initiative being considered by Council, and methods to be used to engage key stakeholders within the community.
It will include strategies to engage our diverse community, including;
- Children and young people
- Older people
- People with disability
- People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- People at risk of, or experiencing homelessness