Community engagement, also known as ‘public participation’, is about involving people in decision-making and it is at the very core of our democratic processes in local government.
The City of Parramatta Council has an organisation-wide commitment to engaging our communities on the issues that matter in a transparent, open, and accountable way. We recognise that people have a right to be informed and to have a say on projects that are important to them, or which have an impact on their daily lives.
Community engagement provides Council with a better understanding of community views and values, and helps us to make more informed decisions and deliver better services.
Community Engagement Strategy
Our refreshed Community Engagement Strategy (2022-24) was adopted by Council on Monday 28 November 2022.
The Strategy outlines Council's approach to engaging with the community and stakeholders, and provides transparency and clarity for all stakeholders so that they can better understand their role in the decision-making process.
The Strategy outlines who, when and how we will engage in plans and policies; the level of community involvement varies depending on the project and the potential impact of the decision.
The Consolidated Development Application Notification Requirements also now form an appendix to the Community Engagement Strategy.
The City of Parramatta’s approach to community engagement is guided by eight key principles, which are based on the Community Participation Plan principles outlined in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
- Building relationships: We act in an honest, open, and respectful way to build strong relationships, partnerships, and trust with our stakeholders. We encourage effective and ongoing partnerships with the community to provide meaningful opportunities for participation in decision making.
- Right to be involved: We believe that our stakeholders have a right to be involved in decisions that affect them. All communication should outline that feedback is invited and no-one is prohibited from participating (noting that there may be additional steps needed for engaging with certain groups such as children and young people under 18).
- Clarity of purpose: Our engagement is well-planned with a clearly defined purpose and stages for community input. We are clear about why, how, and what we are engaging about; if the community is affected by a decision, they should be consulted.
- Accessible and inclusive: We actively seek views representative of the community, and we provide a range of engagement activities to ensure that the broadest possible range of stakeholders can participate. Barriers to engagement are identified and measures are put in place to help reduce or overcome these.
- Timely and coordinated: We engage early on and provide enough time for stakeholders to provide input so that views can be genuinely considered. We collaborate across Council to ensure our engagement activities are coordinated.
- Tailored: We use a range of engagement and communication methods that suit the purpose and type of project we are consulting on. We consider the impact of the proposed project, complexity, risk, timing, and the range of stakeholders involved. Where possible, information is provided in plain language, is accessible, and available in a format that makes it easy for people to participate.
- Transparent: We make our decisions in an open and transparent way and provide feedback to our stakeholders in order to explain our decisions and let them know how their input has been considered.
- Learning from practice: We evaluate our engagement activities and learn from the feedback that has been provided to us.
For more information on Council’s approach to community engagement, visit Have Your Say