Banyule Participation: Policy and Strategy 2013-2017
Banyule Participation Policy and Strategy 2013-2017
Participation Policy and Strategy Introduction
Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities
Relationship to the City Plan
Relationships to other corporate strategies
Policy and strategy development process
Policy and strategy review
Our policy commitment
Evaluation and monitoring progress
Rationale for the Participation key directions
Key presenting issues
Our Objective for Participation
Strategic framework for the Participation key directions
Banyule Participation Policy and Strategy 2013 - 2017 Introduction The Participation Policy and Strategy is the primary policy and strategy document that supports the ‘Participation – Community Involvement in Community Life’ objective of the Banyule City Plan 2013-2017. It provides the broad ‘Participation’ policy context for all Council related strategies, policies, plans and activities The Policy and Strategy recognises the critical importance of community participation in achieving good governance, improving service delivery and creating inclusive communities. The City Plan identifies four key directions which Council will focus its commitment in achieving its Participation objective: • Engage meaningfully with our community. • Encourage diverse and inclusive community participation. •
Advocate on behalf of our community.
Provide outstanding communications and customer service.
Scope The Participation Policy and Strategy will apply to all Councillors, Council officers, contractors and Consultants engaged by Banyule City Council. It will also influence all strategies, plans and activities developed or conducted by Banyule Council. Application period Date policy/strategy approved by Council: Date policy/strategy due for review: 1 July 2017. Note: The policy and strategy will be reviewed in line with the review of Banyule’s City Plan (2013-2017). Date of policy/strategy revocation: 12 months after review due date Legislative Context The prime legislative drivers of the Participation Policy are the Local Government Act 1989. the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006, Victorian Disability Act 2008 and the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act 2010. Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act In developing this policy and strategy, the subject matter has been considered to determine if it raises any human rights issues. In particular, whether the scope of any human right established under the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 is in any way limited, restricted or interfered with by the contents of this policy. It is considered that the subject matter does not restrict, limit or interfere with any human rights. It is considered that the Banyule Participation Policy and Strategy is consistent with, and advances rights outlined in the Charter. The human rights most relevant to this policy are the rights to: • freedom of expression (section 15) • take part in Public Life (section 18) • protection of families and children (section 17) • cultural rights (section 19) • freedom of movement (section 15) 3
Banyule Participation Policy and Strategy 2013 - 2017 Relationship to the City Plan The Participation Policy and Strategy is the primary policy and strategy document that supports the ‘Participation’ objective of the Banyule City Plan 2013-2017. It is one of the five major policy and strategy frameworks adopted by Banyule City Council to deliver improved outcomes for residents, businesses and stakeholders in the period from 20132017. The other policies and strategies support the objective themes of People, Planet, Place and Performance. Performance is at the core of the new City Plan and underpins Council’s organisational culture and way of working to achieve its objectives. People, Planet, and Place are the three interconnected policies that form the heart of what Council will deliver over the four year period. Participation forms a ring around all of Council’s activity and is paramount in our activities and how we work with others to achieve our objectives. The People, Planet and Place objectives are central and their success is dependent on how well we succeed with the Participation and Performance objectives.
Banyule Participation Policy and Strategy 2013 - 2017 Relationships to other corporate strategies
Participation Key Directions:
• Engage meaningfully with our community. • Encourage diverse and inclusive community participation. • Advocate on behalf of our community. • Providing outstanding communications and customer service
Responses are provided in: People (Health & Wellbeing) Strategy Place Policy & Strategy Planet Policy & Strategy Participation Policy & Strategy Performance Policy & Strategy
Policy and strategy development process This policy and strategy was developed by drawing on the following information sources: • A review of current literature and policy initiatives around the theme of public participation, community engagement, volunteerism and advocacy, and customer service and communications. • • •
The content of community consultations conducted during the development of Council’s City Plan 2013-2017 and the Banyule Community Plan. Discussions with Banyule City Council Councillors and staff. Council commissioned research documents, especially: − Banyule Community Priorities Survey 2009. − Banyule Household Survey 2011. − Participation Discussion Paper for the Banyule Community Plan and action plan 2010-2012. − 2012 JWS Research / DPCD Community Satisfaction Survey. − Market Solutions Customer Service Expectations 2011 Survey. The Participation Policy and Strategy 2012-2013 (Interim).
• Council’s other major policy and strategy frameworks. • The development of Banyule’s City Plan 2013-2017. This policy and strategy has been reviewed in parallel with the wider City Plan and Community Plan review process, which has included comprehensive consultation across Banyule’s local communities. Policy and strategy review Any person who wishes to provide input, feedback or comment on this policy and strategy can do so: By email: firstname.lastname@example.org By facsimile: 9499 9475 By post: PO Box 51 Ivanhoe 3079. By telephone: 9490 4222 5
Banyule Participation Policy 2013-2017 Our Objective for Participation Govern effectively by appropriately engaging the community in issues that affect them, and advocate for the broader interests of the community.
Banyule Participation Policy 2013-2017 Our policy commitment Council will support its commitment to Participation in Banyule by: • • • •
Engaging meaningfully with our community. Encouraging diverse and inclusive community participation. Advocating on behalf of our community. Providing outstanding communications and customer service.
This policy supports all five objectives in the City Plan, in particular: PARTICIPATION: Community Involvement in Community Life – Govern effectively by appropriately engaging the community in issues that affect them, and advocate for the broader interest of the community
Banyule Participation Policy 2013-2017 Key Directions
This policy provides the rationale for Banyule’s key directions within its Participation objective: • •
Engage meaningfully with our community. Encourage diverse and inclusive community participation.
Advocate on behalf of our community.
Provide outstanding communications and customer service.
The core principles that help us achieve our City Plan Vision and the Participation policy and strategy are: •
Sustainability for our future.
• • •
Community wellbeing. Community participation. Fairness in all we do.
Maintaining our community’s trust.
Council’s Role •
Planner. With legislated responsibilities in this area, Council plays a key role in identifying significant issues in the community. It then works with other agencies and community groups and residents to find ways to respond these issues. Funder. Access to income through a property-based tax provides local government with a significant advantage over other agencies working within the municipality. Council is able to contribute its own funds to support the operation of services it provides directly, or to fund other agencies to provide much needed services.
Advocate. As the tier of government closest to its constituents, local government has a clear mandate to advocate on behalf of its community to secure resources and influence change to the advantage of its residents.
Service provider. Local government in Victoria plays an active and trusted role in the delivery of services to groups and individuals in the community.
Evaluation and Monitoring Progress •
Banyule City Council is committed to high quality, responsive and effective services and program planning. As a part of this commitment we regularly monitor and evaluate the progress of our policies, strategies and plans through project level indicators. We also monitor and take action in response to changing population level health and wellbeing indicators to gauge trends, progress and emerging issues.
Banyule Participation Policy 2013-2017 Background What is Participation? Participation is about how people get involved in the community, have a say on issues that are important to them and how people are involved in decision making and future planning. Community participation in decision making is one of the most successful methods of building trust between government and communities. Public participation is particularly needed where there are high conflict issues and competing demands for resources. Involving the community early on in the planning stages is more likely to achieve better outcomes and shared ownership in the results. While Participation is a broad theme that encompasses many elements, Council’s City Plan 2013-2017 has narrowed the key directions for Banyule in relation to Participation as being: •
Engage meaningfully with our community - Providing opportunities for the community to be involved in the planning, implementation and evaluation of decisions that affect them and the future planning for Banyule. This is fundamental to good governance and will result in delivering responsive council services and adapting to diverse community needs. Encourage diverse and inclusive community participation - Encouraging diverse and inclusive participation of residents, so they feel connected to Banyule and can contribute to the advancement of their community. This has considerable benefits including: increasing a local sense of community; greater acceptance, tolerance and understanding of diversity; improved and cost effective services; and improved health and wellbeing of individuals. Advocate on behalf of our community - Developing cross-sector partnerships to bring together skills and resources that can achieve more effective community outcomes. Collaborations, joint advocacy and action can have a bigger impact on policy makers and governments. As the tier of government closest to its constituents, local government has a clear mandate to advocate on behalf of its community to secure resources and influence change to the advantage of its residents Provide outstanding communications and customer service - Providing excellence in customer service and communications continues to be a key focus of Council. Council will continue to look for new and better ways to keep the community informed and to listen to the community. This includes using a variety of methods to deliver a consistent and high standard of communication and striving to ensure our community have access to relevant and helpful information about Council services and activities.
Banyule Participation Policy 2013-2017 Rationale for the Participation Key Directions Key Direction 1 Engage meaningfully with our community Community engagement is the process that enables governments to govern most effectively, and citizens to exercise their civic rights and responsibilities fully. Local Government needs to find innovative ways to address service delivery issues at a community level and to seek opportunities to engage the community in issues of local importance. Community engagement is a two-way dialogue - by which the aspirations, concerns, needs and values of the community and other stakeholders are incorporated into policy development, planning, decision-making, service delivery and assessment. Engagement is both a process and an outcome. It is achieved when the community participates in the decision making processes, feels valued and part of the overall governance of the community. Engagement is facilitated and promoted through the ongoing exchange of information, dialogue, consultation and participation. Good engagement promotes dialogue and understanding between Council and the community and often resulting in increased participation in community life and civic engagement. This has mutual beneficial outcomes and builds resilient relationships between Council and the community. Facilitating community engagement promotes and enables citizenship. It encourages communities to be involved, connected and to have an active interest in how their local Council is run and how decisions are made. In this sense, engagement promotes effective, transparent and accountable local governance. Further, it encourages collaboration and partnerships between Council, local agencies and the community on projects of common interest. The intertwined concepts of governance and citizenship are important in our understanding of the role of community engagement in the practice of local democracy. Communities across Australia expect more transparency and accountability from their governments. Residents also want to have meaningful input in decision making on issues that affect them.1 In Banyule, the 2007, 2010 and 2013 community satisfaction surveys showed that residents want and value meaningful community consultation. 2 Engagement provides the opportunity to meet these demands and enhances e the credibility and reputation of Council as open, accountable and willing to listen. 3
Herriman, J. 2011. Local Government and Community Engagement in Australia. Working Paper No 5. Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government, University of Technology Sydney.
Banyule City Council, 2011, Corporate Communications Plan. DPCD (2013), Community Satisfaction Survey: Banyule City Council.
Department of Sustainability and Environment (2005), An introduction to engagement. Effective Engagement: building relationships with community and other stakeholders.
Banyule Participation Policy 2013-2017 Some of the benefits of community engagement for Banyule include: • • •
Strengthening the capacity of communities to take action that produce positive and sustainable changes locally; Partnerships and coalitions are formed that serve as catalysts for changing policies and practices;
Improved communication, that promotes common understanding and encourages the community to put forward ideas; Strengthening community and stakeholder partnerships;
Enabling Council to have a better understanding of local needs;
Promoting and facilitating the principles of inclusiveness, respect, integrity of democratic process, and incorporating diversity; Assisting with conflict management and resolution and the more effective use and allocation of resources; and Complementing Council’s other sources of information to provide a comprehensive picture to allow for the best possible decisions and outcomes.
Key Direction 2 Encourage diverse and inclusive community participation Community participation refers to a broad range of activities that includes the way people get involved in local community life. Diverse and inclusive community participation includes ensuring that all people, regardless of their background, identity or ability have the opportunity to participate in community life. Communities are stronger and more resilient when there are high levels of participation. There are many active groups in Banyule that support community participation including sporting clubs, interest and friends groups, neighbourhood and community houses, church and faith based groups and state-wide organisations. Council has a role in ensuring that these groups are supported to continue to provide opportunities for connection and participation. Diversity and inclusion: Banyule as a community is diverse and includes people of a range of abilities, identities, faiths, cultures and backgrounds. Evidence demonstrates that members of diverse communities encounter barriers to connecting effectively with their community and as a consequence can experience social isolation and limited opportunities for participation. When significant numbers of community members are excluded, community cohesion can be disrupted as negative stereotypes develop in the absence of knowledge and understanding, and community attitudes can be influenced by ignorance and suspicion. Promoting community inclusion involves developing strategies to identify barriers that people encounter to participation in community life and working with the community on ways to remove or minimise their impact. Inclusion also confirms and celebrates the diversity of lifestyles and cultures within the community in ways that foster acceptance, understanding and appreciation that contributes to a sense of identity and belonging.
Banyule Participation Policy 2013-2017 As concepts, inclusion, access and equity do not provide favourable treatment or direct unwarranted attention to particular groups in the community. These concepts recognise and confirm that social cohesion and sustainability can only be achieved when there is equity of opportunity for all to access and participate in community life. Everyone benefits within an inclusive community. Diverse and inclusion participation can be supported and promoted in a range of ways, including increase opportunities for citizenship and volunteering. Citizenship Citizenship is the ability of individuals and groups, regardless of nationality or ethnicity to express their rights and undertake their responsibilities as part of a democratic society. The key elements of citizenship at the local level include: • Respect for every person, valuing differences and diversity, and having opportunities to work together to create shared values that will make the community more supportive and inter-connected; • Involvement in the life of the community; • Representing the interests of the community and becoming involved in the decision making process. Participatory approaches, whether formal or informal, result in communities and other stakeholders having ownership of a direction, action or decision and its implementation. Some examples of community participation practices undertaken in Banyule include “friends of…” groups for local parks and reserves; Trader and Shopping Centre groups; community committees and advisory committees; and the management of local sporting and community facilities by community groups under lease arrangement entered into with Council.
Banyule Participation Policy 2013-2017 Volunteerism Volunteerism covers a range of different activities people undertake without payment which include: mutual aid and self-help; formal service delivery; civic engagement; and campaigning. Volunteering provides both personal and community benefits, including: •
people can benefit from volunteering through socialising and development of skills, confidence and experience;
the community can benefit through service provision such as sporting, recreation and cultural activities, and services for children, the elderly and others. Without volunteers many of the activities and events which we all value and consider important to community life would not occur.
Regardless of whether activities or groups are run by paid staff or volunteers – the community has a right to expect groups and activities will be inclusive, welcoming and well run. Council supports volunteer efforts through the use of equipment, facilities, and grants. Key Direction 3 Advocate on behalf of our community Advocacy can be defined as the strategic method for achieving positive social change through persuasion and diplomacy. It involves trust and relationship building, education and information, use of communication and media, and strategic partnerships. Often matters of critical importance to local communities are outside of the direct control of Council. Council’s aim in advocating is to strengthen the voice of local communities to persuade and influence decision makers and leaders in all spheres of government and the private sector, to act in the best interests of the Banyule community. In advocating on behalf of the interests of its community, Banyule Council seeks to achieve: • Public policy change and allocation of resources which benefit the needs of the Banyule community, particularly the more disadvantaged within the community and those whose individual voices may struggle to be heard. • Greater visibility and understanding of the issues affecting our communities among decision makers. •
Participating in the agenda setting on matters which impact on our local communities.
Key Direction 4 Provide outstanding communications and customer service Effective communication and customer service is at the forefront of all our interactions with the community. Providing high quality communications and customer service increases engagement with the community and ensures Council is kept aware of emerging community priorities. In addition to Council’s call centres and Service Centres, all service areas of Council have a shared responsibility of providing a consistent and professional standard of customer service and communication. This interface can occur in many forms, including: face to face, direct telephone calls, meetings, website, emails, letters, and via emerging new technologies.
Banyule Participation Policy 2013-2017 Local communities look to Council as a key source of information about numerous local services, facilities and opportunities. Meeting this growing expectation involves Council working together with a range of partners and agencies to be able to provide people with high quality customer service that meets needs, is efficient and leaves people feeling they have been listened to and provided with an effective service. By focussing on and embracing a professional approach to delivering customer service and communication, Council is demonstrating respect for its community and customers. Providing timely information about important issues is both a goal and a statutory requirement of good governance. Customer Service: Council supports a range of customers that include residents, ratepayers, visitors, traders, colleagues, contractors, suppliers or other agencies. Council is committed to providing our community with the highest standard of customer service that can be provided. Banyule is continually striving to deliver services that are above and beyond our customers’ expectations. Council is aware that its community is diverse and therefore strives to make range of methods and options available to ensure information is accessible and provided in a useful form. This may involve methods such as: after-hours service, translation services for members of our community from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and an ‘out and about’ program. Council does not rely only on the community coming to us. We actively promote our services and contact people through a range of programs and activities. In brief, the high level of customer service is based on: • •
Ensuring our Customers will be treated with the highest levels of professionalism and courtesy Ensuring Council is seen by the wider community as an organisation that is working towards Council’s Vision of: Banyule, a green, liveable and prosperous city, sustaining a healthy and engaged community.
Banyule Participation Policy 2013-2017 The organisation has customer service standards in place to ensure that we are dealing with customers in a way that is consistent with the commitments Council has made to the community through the Community Charter and to staff through its ‘Working Together Working Better’ initiative. These standards aim to ensure that: •
Customer service is the responsibility of every individual and team within the organisation.
Council is looking to continually improve the service we deliver to our customers.
Customers are always treated with the highest level of professionalism and courtesy.
Communications: The type and range of communication media available to the community is growing. Council conducts ongoing research to identify communication opportunities, approaches and methods that respond to community expectations and changing needs. This ensures Council can continue to communicate and engage effectively with the Community. Council has identified key aspects that underpin its approach to communication, including: •
Ensure Council provides clear, consistent, timely and co-ordinated messages.
Respond to rising community expectations about the range and types of communication media available, including electronic options and mixed media.
Embrace and improve the use of technology, such as the website. Analysing information gathered in an integrated way to inform strategy and collate demographic information on our community to ensure we communicate in a way that is best matched and effective.
Banyule Participation Policy 2013-2017 Policy Context The Local Government Act 1989 identifies that the role of a Council is to provide leadership for the good governance of the municipal district and local community. Included in this role, as specified in the Local Government Act, is: • • • •
Acting as a representative body when making decisions by taking into account the diverse needs of the local community; Ensuring transparency and accountability in Council decision making; Advocating the interests of the local community to other communities and governments; Fostering community cohesion and encouraging participation in civic life;
Acting as a responsible partner in government by taking into account the needs of other communities
Advocating and promoting proposals which are in the best interest of the local community.
Providing services to the community in line with Best Value Principles.
The Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 is a Victorian law that sets out the basic rights, freedoms and responsibilities of all people in Victoria. It is about the relationship between government and the people it serves. The Charter requires public authorities, such as Victorian state and local government departments and agencies, and people delivering services on behalf of government, to act consistently with the human rights in the Charter. The Victorian Disability Act 2006 requires Local governments to prepare disability action plans for the purpose of: a)
Reducing barriers to persons with a disability accessing goods, services and facilities.
Reducing barriers to persons with a disability obtaining and maintaining employment.
Promoting the inclusion and participation of persons with a disability in the community.
The Equal Opportunity Act 2010 is Victoria’s anti-discrimination law. The Act operates to prevent discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation of individuals. This includes a positive duty to eliminate discrimination. The positive duty puts an obligation on Councils to take proactive and reasonable steps to address causes of discrimination as opposed to waiting for a complaint to be made. Instead of allowing organisations to react to complaints of discrimination when they happen, the Act requires them to be proactive about discrimination and take steps to prevent discriminatory practices.
Banyule Participation Strategy 2013-2017 Our Objective for Participation Govern effectively by appropriately engaging the community in issues that affect them, and advocate for the broader interests of the community.
Banyule Participation Strategy 2013-2017 Key Presenting Issues Responding to the diversity of community needs, interests and perspectives:
Banyule Council is committed to encouraging community engagement and participation and advocating on behalf of our diverse groups of residents and ratepayers. A key challenge facing Banyule Council is to understand and respond to the diversity of interests and needs rather than just to the articulate or more prominent voices. A demographic snapshot reveals the growing diversity of Banyule residents. Diversity is an umbrella term that refers to the range of different communities that make up Banyule. It is often used to refer to people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities, people with disabilities and their carers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other underrepresented parts of our community. Responding effectively to diversity requires using a range of approaches and partnerships to implement this Participation Policy and Strategy. Key demographic information: • • • • • • • • •
We have an ageing population. People of 65 years and over account for just over 15% of the population, but by 2031 this figure is expected to reach nearly 20%. Accompanying Banyule’s ageing population there is projected to be some growth in the number of lone person households from 22% to 24% of all households. Despite our ageing population there has been a recent increase in the number of under-four year olds, conversant with a mini ‘baby boom’ across Australia. Banyule is culturally diverse, and is home to people from over 50 different cultural backgrounds. Nearly a fifth of the population speaks a language other than English at home. Banyule’s Indigenous population is small but growing. Our unemployment rate of 4.4% is lower than the metropolitan average, but it is growing, and there are significant pockets of unemployment in certain parts of Banyule, such as Heidelberg West. More than 5,600 residents (4.8% of the population) have a profound or severe disability. Over 12% of the population (or almost 12,000 people) acted as carers of other people, which is a higher proportion than in Victoria or Melbourne. The burden of caring falls mostly on people in their middle years. Banyule’s residents have higher than average broadband internet access (72% of residents, compared to 70% in Melbourne), but there is much variation between suburbs. A greater proportion of Banyule residents (18%) are volunteers than in Melbourne as a whole (16%).
Banyule Participation Strategy 2013-2017 Using a variety of approaches to engage the community:
Council aims to use multiple and varied approaches to communicate and engage with its diverse community to implement this Participation Policy and Strategy. Higher levels of education and electronic media have increased people’s expectations of transparency, accountability and engagement in local government. Social media and online tools are one of Council’s suite of approaches to implementing this Participation Policy and Strategy. Social media and online tools provide rich information integrating images, text, videos and applications. This enables the community greater access to information and an opportunity to voice their opinion to those who are: • less mobile – electronic media can be accessed from home and other community locations. • time poor – people can respond and access information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. • •
less likely to attend meetings – electronic media provides a voice to young people and many others who do not traditionally attend formal meetings. those with a low level of literacy – the opportunity to use online videos provides another avenue to disseminate more accessible, visual information for those whose literacy skills are not sufficient to read lengthy documents. This includes people whose first language is not English, the visually impaired, and those in the community who do not have high literacy skills.
Social media and online tools will be used by Council in conjunction with the more traditional means of communication and engagement such as print media, and face-to-face meetings and forums.
Using a range of approaches to provide a high standard of services and facilities:
The diversity of needs, increasing expectations, and an ageing population mean greater service needs for Banyule’s communities. These increased demands and expectations cannot be met by Council alone. Council will use a partnership approach with residents, volunteers, community groups, businesses and other tiers of government to strive to meet increasing demand for services and facilities. Council has supported the development of the Community Plan and has taken on board relevant information to feed into our City Plan process. The opportunity to participate in community life is a fundamental right of a democracy. Banyule will strive to be a city that values diversity and actively promotes and enables the inclusion of all residents in the life of the community.
Council acknowledges that volunteers provide a valuable community resource. Volunteers create governance structures and provide human resource support in community, health, religious, educational, environmental and sporting settings within Banyule. These groups encourage an increased level of participation in community life and promote active citizenship. They are seen as vital to the enhancement of community wellbeing. Volunteers have the right to be supported in their activities. The community also has a right to receive well run and inclusive services regardless of whether they are organised by volunteers or paid staff. 19
Banyule Participation Strategy 2013-2017 Advocacy:
One of Council’s key governance functions is to advocate on behalf of the community on issues they deem as important, or issues that are likely to have substantive impacts on our residents’ lives. By representing the interests of the community in a range of forums, we have the capacity to attract additional resources to the municipality and resolve complex issues that affect the liveability of the city.
Using a range of approaches to provide a high standard of customer service and communication: Banyule’s ongoing commitment to continuous improvement in customer service and communications is underpinned by its organisational Best Value Program. This incorporates: •
Council’s best practice, integrated business management system – which includes certification to national and international standards in Quality, Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Management. Meeting the Best Value Principles of service delivery to our community - This enables Councils to work out the most effective way of involving the community and providing services that are responsive to community needs and values.
Banyule has a Community Charter that sets out commitments and customer service standards that the community can expect when dealing with Council. It also details feedback mechanisms for the community to provide comments or suggestions about potential service improvement. The organisation has customer service standards in place to ensure that we are dealing with customers in a way that is consistent with these commitments. All service areas of Council have a shared responsibility of providing a consistent and professional standard of customer service and communication. These standards are based on: • Customers are always treated with the highest level of professionalism and courtesy. • •
Customer Service is the responsibility of every individual and team within the organisation. Council is looking to continually improve the service we deliver to our customers.
Opportunities and challenges moving forward include: • Managing community expectations – continue to look for ways to keep community informed about the status of their request, and about what is involved in responding to and dealing with requests (eg. for processing planning permit applications). This will improve community understanding and acceptance of response times and expectations. • •
Providing staff training - continuing to provide staff awareness training relating to customer service and communication. Improving processes - identifying more ways to streamline processes relating to customer service and communication. This involves research, benchmarking services against the best on offer, and surveys to monitor community satisfaction.
Banyule Participation Strategy 2013-2017 •
Streamlining systems - streamlining, consolidating and improving the various systems that Council staff rely on in order to perform their duties and deliver excellent communication and customer service to the community. This includes phone systems (moving to Voice over Internet Protocol), the internet and Council’s intranet, various integrated information databases, records management and the request management system.
Strengthening partnerships and relationships – strengthen working relationships Council has in place with a range of partners. This improves co-ordination of information so the customer gets in contact with the right people, whether Council or another agency, and ultimately receives the best response and outcome.
Improving the quality and effectiveness of information available - make it easier for the community to access information about important issues that could potentially have an impact. This is part of continuing to educate the community about these key issues, improving general understanding, and doing this in an informative and proactive manner. It means understanding the right mix of methods to use, eg through promotional material, publications, newsletters and website updates.
Meeting the needs of a diverse community - ensure information is accessible and provided in a useful form for all.
The Banyule Corporate Communications Plan 2011 highlights the importance of addressing fundamental communications opportunities that respond to community expectations. These are largely based around: • Ensuring consistency and co-ordination of messages and approach, including community engagement activities. • Responding to rising community expectations about the level, range and types of communication media available, including electronic options and mixed media. •
Embracing and improving the use of technology, such as the website.
Banyule Participation Strategy 2013-2017 Objective for Participation
Govern effectively by appropriately engaging the community in issues that affect them, and advocate for the broader interests of the community.
‘Participation’ is central to good governance. We will strive for good governance by providing the community with opportunities to actively engage in and influence the decision-making process. We will plan for and respond to the community’s needs, advocate on its behalf and use the resources of the municipality appropriately. Banyule’s commitment to participation will be achieved by the following key directions: 1. Engage meaningfully with our community. 2. Encourage diverse and inclusive community participation. 3. Advocate on behalf of our community. 4. Provide outstanding communications and customer service.
Strategic framework for the Participation Key Directions
The strategic framework and approach to deliver on the Participation key directions is as follows: Key Direction 1: Engage meaningfully with our community Banyule aspires to be a community characterised by mutual trust, goodwill and respect between Council and its residents and other key stakeholders. Council will ensure that high quality community engagement activities are co-ordinated and consistent, and that outcomes are communicated back to the community. Council acknowledges the diverse makeup of the community and recognises the need to use a range of strategies to engage and support the full range of individuals and groups in our community. Council is committed to working in partnership with the community and recognises the great strengths, knowledge and capacity that local people and groups possess. We acknowledge that quality engagement takes time and planning and requires ongoing partnership with the community. Council is committed to providing timely and accurate information around key decisions and ensure transparency in Council processes, meetings and decisions. Our focus areas We will: •
Engage community members in issues of local concern to develop local solutions and support community members to contribute their strengths, knowledge and capacity.
Listen and respond to our community, especially under-represented groups.
Enhance our relationship and work in respectful partnership with the traditional owners of Banyule, the Wurundjeri Willam people. 22
Banyule Participation Strategy 2013-2017 Key Direction 2: Encourage diverse and inclusive community participation We are committed to increasing community participation and advancing equity for all for the development of a strong, diverse and inclusive community. This involves embedding the principles of inclusion in the provision of Council services and policy development and supporting inclusion and equity in the broader community. It is important we communicate effectively with our community, that the community understands the full range of opportunities to be connected, and we continue to act in a manner that is respectful and mindful of the requirements of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006. We will continue to connect with people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities, people with disabilities and their carers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and other under-represented parts of our community. We will offer guidance and encouragement to committees of volunteer-based community service organisations to provide these critical services within their local communities. We will celebrate and promote volunteer activity within Banyule. We will recognise and support where appropriate, local residents, community groups and businesses that increase and contribute to active citizenship. This involves providing initiatives that encourage an increased level of participation by everyone in community life. We will guide and develop the governance activities of associated community groups with a relationship to Banyule (which includes good governance, being inclusive and welcoming to new and diverse members). We will encourage, recognise and celebrate voluntary activity and the achievements of individuals, groups and organisations that have contributed to the richness of community life within the municipality. We are committed to recognising and celebrating outstanding community and civic behaviour among our residents through the creation of Banyule Citizen of the Year awards. Our focus areas We will: â€˘ â€˘ â€˘
Work in partnership with the community to promote inclusion, diversity and good local governance. Encourage people to participate in volunteer and community activities. Ensure the access and connectedness of under-represented groups to Council facilities, activities and services.
Banyule Participation Strategy 2013-2017 Key Direction 3: Advocate on behalf of our community One of our key governance functions is to advocate on behalf of the community on issues they deem as important, or issues that are likely to have substantive impacts on our residents’ lives. By representing the interests of the community in a range of forums, we have the capacity to attract additional resources to the municipality and resolve complex issues that affect the liveability of the city. Council is committed to undertake a range of activities to advocate for the diverse needs of the Banyule community, with a focus on members of our community who are disadvantaged or under-represented. Council will develop and implement strategies to combat cost shifting from the Federal and State Governments, and gain appropriate resourcing from our government partners to plan and deliver our important services. Our focus areas We will: •
Work in partnership with the community, groups, local agencies and different levels of government to advocate for improved services, infrastructure and social outcomes.
Identify opportunities for more equitable funding and service arrangements with state and federal government.
Key Direction 4: Provide outstanding communications and customer service We are committed to providing excellence in customer service and communications, to ensure our community and stakeholders have access to quality information about Council services, activities, processes and systems. We will continue to deliver a high standard and consistent communication internally and externally. We will improve the way we communicate with our community by continuing to offer innovative communication means in a variety of mediums including online, visually, in written form and face-to-face. We will ensure appropriate mediums of communication are made available to all sectors of our community. Our focus areas We will: • Improve the reach, impact and responsiveness of our communications. •
Provide transparent and timely information about Council.
Seek and act on feedback on the effectiveness of our communications and customer service.
Banyule Participation Strategy 2013-2017 Structure:
Delivery of the Participation Strategy key directions will rely on the contribution from a range of plans across Council. Some plans will contribute to more than one key direction. The diagram below illustrates where each plan will make its principal contribution.
Participation Strategy Plan and engage with our Community
Banyule Community Charter
Encourage diverse and inclusive particpation in community life
Advocate on behalf of our Community
Community Grants Policy
Banyule Indigenous Australians Committment Plan 2012 -2016
Banyule Disability Policy and Action Plan 2009 2013
Youth and Family Services Citizenship Framework (inc Youth Charter)
Volunteer Management Plan (Proposed)
Consultation and Engagement Guidelines
Inclusion, Access and Equity Plan (Proposed)
Human Rights Guideline and Compatability Assessment
Organisational Annual Business Plan
Provide outstanding communications and customer service
Corporate Communications Plan
CALD Communications Plan