Ordinary Meeting of Council
25 May 2010
GENERAL MANAGER’S OFFICE
ITEM 11 Community Consultation Policy Review (CM57/10)
COMMUNITY CONSULTATION POLICY REVIEW
Report of General Manager (JH) 15/04/10 CB-010.01.005
Council has sought an independent assessment and review of its Community Consultation Policy.
The following recommendations are being made as part of this report:
1 The community be consulted about the current Neighbourhood Forum boundaries
Concerns have been raised by members of a number of Neighbourhood Forums about the appropriateness of their current boundaries. It is therefore recommended that the community be consulted about the boundaries in the Neighbourhood Forum Charter. This is discussed in the attached Report on Implementation of Community Consultation Policy 2010.
2 Council consult with the community about the current definition of membership of Neighbourhood Forums
Members of Neighbourhood Forum 2 have raised concerns about the Neighbourhood Forum Charter as it is silent on matters relating to voting rights and quorums. It is recommended that Council consult all Neighbourhood Forums to gain a clearer understanding of the issue and work towards a solution and possible amendment of the Charter.
3 Council continue to support and promote Neighbourhood Forums
The Elton Consulting report recommends promotion of Neighbourhood Forums to hard to reach communities as current participation does not reflect a broad cross-section of the community, a trend which has been raised by Neighbourhood Forum Convenors in their feedback. Concern was also raised that not enough of the community know about the Neighbourhood Forums. It is recommended that Council partner with the Neighbourhood Forums in effective promotion. Some Neighbourhood Forums have requested administrative or secretarial support. Council is not able to provide secretarial support as resources are being dedicated to works and services. Council acknowledges that Neighbourhood Forums are volunteer groups and therefore proposes the following support to assist them. Council is committed to working with the Neighbourhood Forums and sends an Engagement Officer to ten (10) meetings per year and responds to action items from meetings. Council is also proposing to work with the Neighbourhood Forums to develop guidelines and processes that will assist Neighbourhood Forum in meeting their needs and minimising administrative pressure. Council will also offer training on effective meeting practices to Neighbourhood Forum Chairs and Co-Chairs which will assist in formulating these guidelines.
4 Council further develops e-consultation techniques
E-consultation is an emerging opportunity to allow inclusive consultation especially with groups that are traditionally considered hard to reach. E-consultation is an option in the current Community Consultation Policy. Council is currently making active use of its website as part of all consultation activities, with details of projects and plans and surveys being available online. Elton Consulting has recommended that Council continue to develop this opportunity with particular emphasis on moderated forums and possible presence on social networking sites. It is recommended that Council react proactively to this feedback and consider what types of e-consultation will meet both Council and the community’s needs.
5 Council update the Community Leaders Meeting with Administrators Charter to become the Neighbourhood Forum Leaders Meeting with Administrators Charter
The current membership of this meeting is not aligned with the Charter. It is recommended that the Charter be updated to reflect current practice as per Policy Impact Statement below.
6 Council promote Public Access Forums to encourage broad participation by community members
Elton Consulting recognises the Public Access Forum as a significant opportunity for community members to speak directly to Council and recommends promotion of the Forum to encourage broad participation. Council will actively promote the Public Access Forums and consider options for broadening participation.
7 The Community Consultation Policy be updated to:
– differentiate between consultation opportunities and support mechanisms
– be reviewed every two years
Download full report Community Consultation Policy Review (2633 KB) from:
by Ken Davis
Concerned Residents of East Dapto (CRED)