What is Community Engagement
Community engagement is the term the Council uses for involving residents in Brisbane City Council's decision-making process.
Benefits of Community Engagement
Community engagement has benefits for you as a resident as well as Brisbane City Council.
It allows Council to access wider sources of information, points of view and potential solutions. It also gives residents a better understanding of the issues behind the decision-making process and the related constraints or opportunities that exist.
Benefits to community
- have your opinions heard
- help Council better understand complex issues
- understand Council processes
- Council and the community work together and learn from each other
- strengthened community networks
- build information skills
- ideas and opinions are valued
- achieves sustainable outcomes
Benefits to Council:
- helps understand communities’ needs
- increases awareness and understanding about an issue
- identifies challenges and opportunities not previously considered
- gains public feedback about a range of options
- helps develop consensus and trust
- access to local knowledge about what is likely to work and what will not
Levels of Community Engagement
In line with the United Nations Office for Community and Economic Development Brisbane City Council identifies three levels of community engagement; informing, consulting and active participation. This spectrum of engagement is based upon the relationship between Council and the community and the amount of influence individuals and groups can have on the decision being made.
Many factors limit how much community influence on decision making is possible on an issue or project. National and State legislation may restrict what Council is able to do. The amount of influence individuals and groups can have on decision making varies and depends on the type of project. In all cases the final decision rests with Council.
Community engagement can be as simple as Council providing information to members of the community about a project. This type of engagement is known as information sharing, and happens when Council has already made a decision or when there is only one way that Council can progress the project.
Community consultation is a two-way relationship between Council and the community where Council seeks feedback on proposals or to identify other important issues.
Active participation is a partnership in which Council encourages community involvement in the development and delivery of specific projects.
Council's decision making process
Brisbane City Council believes it is important to consider the views of a community when making decisions about projects that affect their local area or the city as a whole.
There are many factors that can influence the decision-making process, including costs, technical aspects, environmental concerns, legal requirements and political commitment.
This can mean that some members of the public may sometimes not agree with the final outcome.
Council's general decision-making process could be outlined as:
- A need is identified or a project idea is formed.
- Council officers ‘size up’ the project and technical investigations are conducted.
- A preliminary proposal goes to the manager and/or Civic Cabinet.
- A draft proposal is developed by working with the appropriate areas of Council.
- A draft proposal may be made available for public consultation.
- The final proposal, including community feedback, goes to Civic Cabinet for final approval.
- Council makes a final decision.