Heather Hutchinson listens to feedback on the Community Engagement Framework.
Residents are being given greater input into decisions made around the council table after Frankston City Council this week adopted its Community Engagement Framework. Described by the council as “a major step towards embedding community feedback and input into council’s decision-making process”, the framework is designed to:
- Develop a consistent and co-ordinated approach to community engagement;
- Increase participation and involvement in council decisions and projects;
- Improve awareness and understanding of community engagement as central to council decision-making; and,
- Provide guidelines and a toolkit for planning and delivering community engagement.
Cr Sue Baker said community input significantly influenced the development and content of the framework, which included eight community pop-up events, an online survey, and engagement with stakeholder groups such as youth and the council’s disability access and inclusion committee.
The council’s director of business innovation and culture, Shweta Babbar, said: “We heard during this engagement that community members value face-to-face engagement along with a range of methods being offered during consultations, including membership of Frankston City’s new community panel. For council, community engagement means involving local people in decisions that interest and/or impact them. Our engagement can take many forms, from simply sharing information through to getting local people directly involved in making council decisions that affect council services, activities, facilities and plans. When our community are engaged, they can see how their contributions make a difference to a decision and to long-term outcomes in their local neighbourhoods and wider municipality.”
The council’s senior co-ordinator of community engagement and participation, Heather Hutchinson, said good community engagement “promotes an exchange of information and ideas between council and the community on issues and decisions that the community are affected by and are interested in. Council is committed to engaging and collaborating with our diverse local community to understand and include people’s different views, experiences and expertise. We are genuinely listening and learning from the local community to ensure their feedback influences council’s decisions and project outcomes.”
Ms Hutchinson said the council’s new community engagement platform, Engage Frankston!, was scheduled to go live from July 9 and would provide an easy and more interactive way for residents to give feedback on the council’s plans, projects, policies and activities. “We are looking to expand our community panel from the current 40 members to 500 community members to ensure the panel is truly a snapshot of Frankston City. As a member of our community panel, you will provide feedback on a range on projects by completing surveys, quick polls, attending focus groups, workshops and other activities that we will make as interactive and enjoyable as possible. Keep an eye out for our registration information in July/August.”
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1300 322 322 and ask for Heather Hutchinson or Ilona Ellerton.