Community Engagement

Community Engagement

This page attempts to define the very broad but interesting topic of "Community Engagement".
Comments and additions to this page are welcomed.
Here is what Brisbane City Council thinks about Community Engagement

Also some guidelines from the Institute of Local Government Public Engagement & Collaborative Government

Here is a suggestion that encourages a "Well Informed Public" - Isn't this what community engagement is about. Well Informed Public

Here are some interesting tools for Community Engagement (in Gov2.0) Engage the Public

Engage : Getting on with Government 2.0

The Australian Government commissioned a Task Force report on the use of Gov 2.0 in Australia.

Gov2.0 Taskforce

This report is well worth referencing (reading).

The US is also interested in promoting social media to engage citizens.

  1. NASCIO study of US State use of Social Media (to engage communities)

USA - Use of Social Media

  1. The Knight Foundation and the Aspen Institute are involved

The Knight Foundation and the Aspen Institute have joined forces to clarify and document good practice for Community Engagement.

Measuring the Success of Community Engagement

A great example of Community Engagement in Alexandria, Virginia

ACTion Alexandria and for a description of what they are trying to achieve go to Engagement in Alexandria

  1. Canada is moving forward with engagement

The Canadian Approach

State Governments are getting involved - Victoria has a Social Media Primer

The eGovernment Resource Centre (set up by Victorian government) has a lot of useful information for budding "social entrepreneurs" and governments interested in engaging their communities.

eGovernment Resource Centre - Victoria

Council Community Strategic Plan ('CSP') - a local government initiative

This will most likely be the largest community project run to date and will set the agenda for the next 10 - 20 years.

The project will identify long term aspirations and priorities for the community as a whole.

The CSP will aim to address economic, environmental, social and civic leadership issues and provide a vision for the the community's future.

This project would commence with;
Council is starting a conversation with the community about what they would like the council area to be like in 10 - 20 years. There will be many different opportunities and ways for the community to have its say, however, to start the process there are some key questions that will need to be asked.

Community Engagement

In the Local Government environment, Community Engagement is one mechanism for getting vital community input into decisions being made on behalf of this community.

Community Engagement has been referred to in different ways in the past and will most likely take on different forms in the future. However, Community Engagement is one form of "Public Participation" and is often referred to under this heading.
Lets say these two headings are similar and have the same intent.

Community Engagement (or "Public Participation") is a key to success in delivering services to the specific community in question. There is no point in delivering services that the Community does not want or will not appreciate. The starting point should be to get the community involved in the decision making process. This is what Community Engagement is advocating.

Community Engagement can take many and different forms (with differing levels of involvement and commitment).
These different levels can involve the following processes (moving from simple to complicated);

  • Inform
  • Consult
  • Involve
  • Collaborate
  • Empower

All of the above are ways to work with the Community, and could apply in different circumstances, depending on the timeframe, required output, importance, risk, value etc.

A council would need to set-up a cross disciplinary team to look at Community Engagement and make recommendations on its use by council.
This is a non threatening forum where any council staff member could make a contribution to this debate.

The engagement will result in a list of the Community Aspirations for the future which will be documented as part of the Community Strategic Plan.

External Links & References

  1. LGAM Knowledge Base
  2. Community Information Scorecard
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