What is community engagement?

    Community consultation and engagement happens when Hume City Council seeks input from the community when developing or changing Council plans, strategies, policies and service delivery. Council uses a variety of ways to hear what the community think, including workshops and popup activities, surveys, and online activities.

    Hume's current Community Engagement Framework defines engagement as:

    "Community and Stakeholder Engagement is a planned two-way process by which specific, identified groups are given the opportunity to provide input that enhances decision making processes on issues that may impact on their well-being or interests."

    You can give feedback on this definition in the online discussion forum.

    Why does Council need a Community Engagement Policy?

    Since 2011 Hume’s approach to community engagement has been guided by the Community Engagement Framework and Planning Guide (available as pdf in documents sidebar). The new Local Government Act 2020 (enacted in March 2020) requires all Victorian local governments to develop a community engagement policy. 

    Following the development of the policy, Council will update its existing guidelines and resources to further enhance engagement practice and community participation in decision making processes.

    What does a Community Engagement Policy do?

    The Community Engagement Policy will assist Council in developing a consistent approach to community engagement, and will meet the legislative requirements outlined in the new Local Government Act 2020.

    The Community Engagement Policy will include:

    • Council's commitment to community engagement
    • Community engagement principles that will guide Council's approach to effective community engagement
    • Roles and responsibilities for community engagement
    • Other relevant information as required by the Local Government Act 2020.

    Why should I contribute to this project?

    Council has made a commitment to resident's participatory rights in decisions that affect their life through its Social Justice Charter  incorporating the Hume Citizen's Bill of Rights.

    Your participation will help ensure Hume City Council's approach to engagement is based on the feedback of the Hume community and stakeholders.

    We are interested in hearing from all community and stakeholders, regardless of whether you have or have not taken part in consultation before.

    Does "community" only refer to residents?

    No. 'Community' is a flexible term which is used to define groups of connected people. 

    In terms of 'community engagement' Council uses the term 'community' to describe people of Hume City generally,  including individuals or groups who live, work, play, study, visit, invest in or pass through the municipality. 

    More specifically, it can refer to everyone affiliated with Hume City, or smaller groups defined by interest, identity or location, and not necessarily homogeneous in composition or sharing the same views. 

    Different types of communities often overlap and extend beyond municipal boundaries. Communities may be structured, as in clubs, businesses, formal community groups or associations. Likewise they maybe unstructured or informal groups, such as teens. 

    Communities are flexible and temporary, subject individual identity and location.

    I often hear the term "stakeholder engagement" - who or what are stakeholders?

    Businesses, service providers, other levels of government or even community groups are often defined as stakeholders. 

    For the purposes of community engagement, stakeholders are defined as an individual or group with strong interests in the decisions of Council, and are directly impacted by the outcome of Council decisions. 

    What does public participation mean?

    Public participation encompasses a range of public involvement, from simply informing people about what government is doing, delegating decisions to the public and community activity addressing the common good.

    The new Local Government Act 2020 refers to 'deliberative engagement' - what does this mean?

    The Act doesn't provide a formal definition, or prescribe what deliberative engagement practices should look like, however a broad interpretation should be taken. 

    The key characteristics of deliberative engagement are considered to be: authentic engagement with the community; good representation of the community in engagement activities; clear demonstration of how all views have been considered; accessible and relevant information available to the community to ensure the decision-making process and the community’s level of influence is clear in each instance and that participants are fully informed. 

    It is intended that Council's Community Engagement Policy will provide further guidance and clarification of this term in the context of Council's community engagement practices.