The Strategic Community Plan outlines community long term (10+ years) vision, values, aspirations and priorities, with reference to other local government plans, information and resourcing capabilities.
The Strategic Community Plan outlines community long term (10+ years) vision, values, aspirations and priorities, with reference to other local government plans, information and resourcing capabilities. The Strategic Community Plan is not static. A full
review is required every four years with a desktop review every two years.
The Strategic Community Plan:
The integration of asset, service and financial plans means the local government's resource capabilities are matched to their community's needs.
Where structural reform is being put in place, this integrated approach to planning will help the new local government entities identify and meet the requirements of the local community.
Engaging with your community is essential for the development of a Strategic Community Plan. Community engagement is a tool to identify the long term goals and priorities of your community. This can be done through a range of activities including surveys,
meetings, on-line forums and facilitated workshops.
Conversation with your community:
Designing and planning the engagement process:
Implementing the process:
Community engagement is "any process that involves the public in solving problems or making decisions, and uses public input to make decisions" (IAP2, 2006). Meaningful community engagement is a critical component in the development of the Strategic
Community Plan, underpinning the Integrated Planning and Reporting process. It provides an opportunity for the community to have input into decision-making and setting the direction of the local government authority.
Strong leadership to support the engagement process from the Chief Executive Officer, Executive team and Elected Members will play a significant role in developing a Strategic Community Plan.
The International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) is an international leader in community engagement providing a recognised global standard for best practice. This in turn will help local governments to make better decisions that reflect the
interests and concerns of the broad community.
IAP2 Core Values and Principles can help organisations, decision-makers and practitioners make better decisions and the IAP2 Spectrum assists in selecting the level of participation that defines the public's role.
The diversity of the local community is a crucial consideration when planning an engagement process. There are 'hard to reach' groups that are often neglected due to a range of barriers that inhibit their participation, such as age, gender, ethnicity,
language and mobility. Such groups include culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD), Indigenous, youth, children, seniors, and people with disabilities.
Many local governments utilise diverse methods and techniques for working with stakeholders. They play an important leadership role by building key partnerships in order to meet the identified needs of a diverse and representative range of community members.
For some useful examples of community engagement practices please view the following links.
It is essential to understand the demographic profile of your community and the various groups of interest as part of your community profiling.
It is also important to be aware of key issues that are important to your community. Designing and Planning the Engagement Process should cover this important aspect.
What different techniques, tools or models can you use to identify community aspirations and priorities? How can you encourage community participation to create a Strategic Community Plan that will provide a clear direction and a shared vision? Selecting
the engagement tools and techniques that are most appropriate to your community is critical. Determining clear engagement objectives will assist in deciding the best engagement format.
There is a range of tools and techniques available that can be used to deliver your engagement process. It is important to have a good understanding of your chosen techniques, including the benefits and challenges of each. This will assist in meeting
the expectations of both your internal and external stakeholders and identify community aspirations and priorities.
A number of well established models are available to generate the opportunities to provide information such as the Oregon model, Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) and Appreciative Inquiry.
These models can help to define your visioning process.
Identifying Community Aspirations and Priorities Selecting the right engagement techniques to give community members an opportunity to provide input is crucial.
When selecting techniques there will be several considerations:
In choosing the most appropriate techniques a local government can ask:
What are the human, financial and physical resources you will need to generate positive engagement opportunities with your community?
A cost effective approach to broad community engagement is to build upon any existing process, resources or events (i.e. existing local activities, events or meetings that brings the community together).
Community engagement will require significant resources. The Community Engagement Plan should identify the resourcing capacities required for an effective engagement process.
To bring everything together to deliver the best outcomes requires effective and thorough community engagement planning. Developing a robust project plan is a key element of good engagement. You may plan your engagement using your organisation's existing
project planning framework or adapt methodologies from other sources, such as IAP2's planning templates.
The Queensland Government and the IAP2 resources are both excellent starting points when planning your engagement approach.
Consider the use of project management tools governing the tasks/ timelines schedule, updates and changes records management and reporting.
Selecting the best engagement methods to achieve the desired level of community participation requires careful consideration. Think about innovative and diverse techniques that can encourage participation and reach intended audiences across your community.
While choosing engagement methods consider utilising diverse and innovative techniques to reach all parts of your community.
Once you have obtained feedback from the community, it will be necessary to analyse the results. Identifying key and common themes in the feedback is integral to the development of the Strategic Community Plan.
To maintain transparency, you may like to provide the community with an additional opportunity to check that an authentic community voice has been captured. It is important to use community language, and to not filter, reinterpret or translate the community's
voice as far as possible.
Evaluating the engagement process will also ensure that future engagement will keep the document up to date.
Determining whether the goals and objectives of engagement were achieved:
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