Informed and engaged communities are central to a healthy democratic society. Engaged communities have high levels of community knowledge, cultural vibrancy, and civic participation. Given their importance, local government should be striving to foster engaged communities. The best way to do that is to create genuine opportunities for vibrant and authentic community engagement. Enabling effective community engagement requires a focus on process. It requires genuine relationship building, deep and diverse community interaction, and a respect for and integration of local expertise. This report focuses on how local government can support different types of community.
Key recommendations for local government authorities:
- Provide space and resources for community-led development - build on local strengths, providing appropriate spaces for communities to gather, and resourcing community capability development.
- Develop a strategy for effective use of social media and technology - have a cohesive organisation-wide social media strategy that is responsive to the demands of the community, and is resourced appropriately and adequately.
- Have effective and meaningful diversity and inclusion strategies - create the conditions and environments necessary to enable communities to have a sense of belonging and connectedness, and encourage people to participate in community life and citizen engagement.
- Build trusted partnerships and long-lasting connections - trust community leadership and take time to listen to the wisdom a community holds about their own experience, building trusted and reciprocal partnerships where community contributions are valued.