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What do we mean by community engagement?
It's about providing opportunities for the community to be involved in our planning and decision-making. Understanding your needs, aspirations, concerns and ideas improves how we plan and deliver services. Hearing from a range of perspectives leads to sustainable decisions and brings transparency and trust in our processes.
We use the best practice IAP2 framework to give you the influence on big issues and scale back on smaller ones, or where there is limited opportunities to influence. This means we're making the best use of your time and resources.
You can read our full community engagement policy. It outlines how we use the IAP2 framework, the community stakeholders important to Yarra's population, the types of methods we use and how we make sure we're transparent and accountable. The policy is based on diverse community input gathered over a six month period to understand the methods, tools and issues most useful and important to our community.
Community input should start early in the process
This is when the community can have the most influence. However, sometimes we need to get technical advice first to make sure you have the right information for the decision. Generally the greater the impact on the community, the more interactive the consultation will be.
Sometimes we need to engage over several stages in the lead up to final plans or decisions.
We routinely use methods and tools like these to involve our community:
Our promise to the community
We identify people and groups likely to be affected by our decision, and ensure they have the chance to participate.
We use methods that empower underrepresented groups to get involved. We use a variety of online, print and face-to-face methods to maximise our reach and remove potential barriers and ensure culturally safe spaces for engagement.
We empower stakeholders with relevant, objective and plain English information and resources to allow informed participation.
We explain which elements the community can influence, to what level and how we will use our community’s input.
We report back to the community, explaining what we asked, what we heard, and what we did.
We value and respect our community’s time, engaging closely when their influence is high and scaling back when it is more limited.
We adapt to evolving circumstances, including allowing for newly identified stakeholders to engage as necessary throughout the process
We advocate on behalf of the Yarra community where the work of external agencies (including other tiers of government) impacts our community.
We ensure our engagement practitioners and decision makers have the appropriate training, guidance and resources.