Council has created a new Community Engagement Policy to make sure the community has a voice in our decision making and to make it easier for all members of our community participate in important conversations about future projects.

At its meeting on 22 February 2021, Council endorsed the final draft of the Darebin Community Engagement Policy and made some additional changes for future engagements conducted by Council.

What has happened so far

The Local Government Act 2020 which received Royal Assent on 24 March 2020, places new requirements on community engagement principles and requirements, which resulted in the review of our current Community Engagement Strategy and Framework and the development of the new policy.

The proposed Community Engagement Policy was released for public consultation from 8 December 2020 to 22 January 2021.

The following is a summary of the consultation activities conducted.

A total of 681 community members were engaged during the consultation process, which included the following methods and activities:

  • Online and hard copy surveys
  • Randomly selected telephone surveys
  • Consultation meetings and sessions
  • Drop in sessions at All Nations Park in Northcote, Edwardes Lake Park in Reservoir and at the forecourt of the Fairfield library
  • Online workshop session for community leaders
  • Workshop sessions for young people
  • Workshop sessions for children

The feedback received from these consultation activities were collated, analysed and considered in finalising the Community Engagement Policy. You can view the detailed report of the consultation and feedback received from the community, and view the engagement report of some the consultation activities which were delivered by Chatterbox Projects on behalf of Council

Outcome of the consultation

The following changes were made to the Community Engagement Policy based on the feedback that was received from the community during the consultation.

  • Wording to describe principles and commitments to community

Feedback from the community has highlighted a need to simplify the language and make the policy easier to understand. These changes have been made to the proposed Community Engagement Policy

  • Minimum standards of engagement

There has been concerns raised from the community regarding the wording under the ‘Minimum standards of engagement’, which seems to lack some clarity around engagement with the diverse communities and is not as strong compared to the standards for engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Some changes have been made in the policy to address these concerns

  • Five steps for putting community engagement into practice

Some comments have been received regarding the brief information in this section. The details of this section will be included in the Community Engagement Toolkit, which will be part of the policy implementation. However, some minor changes have been made in the proposed policy to reflect the community feedback.

Feedback received on the other questions relating to the implementation of the policy will be used to inform the Community Engagement Toolkit and engagement practice of the organisation.

What is happening now

At its meeting on 22 February 2021, Council adopted the final Darebin Community Engagement Policy with some minor amendments included. You can view the Council Report which was presented to Council.

Additionally, in light of recent concerns from the community regarding the ability to provide multiple submissions, Council was also presented with a couple of options for future engagements to reduce the risk of multiple responses by an individual and to establish a consistent approach to engagement. Council made the decision to endorse the option of collecting personal information from participants for all future engagements undertaken by Council.

What is happening next

The engagement with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation has been initiated and will now take place further to the adoption of the Community Engagement Policy. A revised version of the policy will be prepared and provided to Council for consideration once the engagement has been completed with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies and organisations as required.

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