Douglas Shire Council yesterday unanimously adopted a comprehensive community engagement policy at its Ordinary Council Meeting.
The policy outlines a community engagement framework which aims to Inform, Consult and Actively Participate with the Douglas Shire in decision-making processes that affect them.
Inform: Provide information to assist understanding how decisions will be/were made. Inform will be used when a decision is made for legislative, financial, environmental or technical reasons or there is no opportunity to influence the outcome. Council will explain through media, the Council website and Facebook, letters and fact sheets, displays and information sessions and community meetings/forums.
Consult: Obtain feedback on preferences when there are options available. Consult will be used when feedback and public opinion is required on concepts and designs, there are several options available, issues and concerns are unclear or Council is seeking input, preferences and ideas to help decision-making processes. Council will ask through the Council website and Facebook, surveys and feedback forms, focus groups, workshops and meeting with key stakeholders.
Actively participate: Involve people and working together to understand all the needs and concerns. Active participation will be used when Council needs community knowledge and understanding to influence the decision, there is likely to be a high level or interest or Council needs stakeholders to talk with us and each other about complex issues. Council will ask through advisory/reference groups, participatory design sessions and facilitated workshops.
Douglas Shire Council CEO Linda Cardew said Council is committed to ensuring our communities are provided with objective, clear and concise information and are provided with opportunities and supportive environments to be involved in decision-making processes.
“Community engagement for all councils is a cornerstone of good governance,” Ms Cardew said.
“There is also an increasing public expectation that all levels of government are transparent and accountable in the way they do business.
“Citizens are seeking more direct ways to get involved in public life and decision-making, particularly concerning issues that will have an impact on their lives, and our community engagement policy facilitates this relationship between Council and our communities.”
Links to the community engagement policy: