City Plan’s town planners participated in the Department of planning & Environment’s latest webinar ‘Planning for community engagement’ today which focused on key techniques for effective community consultation. Recent experiences were drawn from the Jindabyne strategic planning exercise, which City Plan has enjoyed being part of.

The first Stage in community consultation is to hear from the range of people within the community.  The second stage is to clarify and confirm what those different groups have told you.

Key lessons from the webinar include:

  • Use a variety of tools to connect with stakeholders, such as: Community events, Surveys, Workshops with different working groups (eg Youth Groups, Government Agencies, Residents, Tourists, etc), E-subscriptions, Walking tours and Pinpoint interactions.
  • Undertake face to face workshops at locations such as schools, shopping centres, chambers of commerce, progress associations, sporting groups and the like.
  • If using social media, ensure a broad cross section of online groups (e.g. Facebook groups) are accessed, not just those we can expect to contribute or are likely to support a proposal or plan.
  • Put participants in the space the subject of a proposal or plan to deliver richer experiences. For example, undertake walking tours or use online tools such as Social Pin Point.
  • Those undertaking community consultation need to make the effort to ‘catch people’ – attend local events, go to shopping centres, go to schools, etc.
  • Include a diverse range of participants in workshops, such as mixing youth with elderly. This assists with understanding the range of needs in a community.
  • Be conscious of how much technical jargon is used. Ensure content passes the ‘mum and dad test’.
  • Bring participants along the journey. Make a summary of feedback available to the public.