There are many drivers for community engagement and a number of factors which influence the way we engage with the community. Community engagement will be carried out when:
- Something the City is intending to do has an impact on the community.
- It is required by legislation such as the creation of a local law or planning scheme.
There are many ways we inform the community of the opportunity to get involved in an engagement including:
- via the Melville Talks page,
- on social media via the City's Facebook and Instagram pages,
- direct email invitations sent to a random sample to City of Melville residents, ratepayers, library and LeisureFit members,
- posters on public noticeboards,
- advertorials in Melville Gazette,
- Information in the Melville Talks eNews and other City of Melville eNews channels,
- Signage if an engagement is about a specific location, and
- Information in media releases.
If you want to consult with the community and have certainty about the results, you must have two things:
- A sample frame or list from which you draw the sample
- A sample size which is representative of the population you want to survey
Until recent times, market researchers could use the phone book as their sample frame, randomly selecting potential participants from the listings and would for example call every 10th person in the phone book until they reached the correct sample size for the required demographics.
Our sample frame
At the City of Melville, our sample frame is our customer service database which contains over 25,000 email addresses collected from people using one of our 200 produces and services. It includes ratepayers, registered dog/cat owners, Library and LeisureFit members, people who have a pool inspected or report graffiti to name a few.
When conducting an engagement we ensure demographic data is collected from participants. We can then determine the extent to which a sample is demographically representative by comparing who responded against the Australian Bureau of Statistics profile for the same area.
We encourage the community to update their contact details with the City, including email to ensure they are part of the sample frame we use for engagements.
In community engagement processes, all comments, ideas and suggestion are collected and reported alongside other inputs, including legislative, financial and technical requirements to inform Council on decision making processes. Depending on whether the information is quantitative or qualitative in nature, different methods are used to analyse and then report back to the community.
While there are many occasions where community influence can be applied, for the most part the democratically elected Council is responsible for making decisions on behalf of the whole community, for the ‘good of the district'. This is particularly so in the case of long-term planning for the future, where Council need to take into account factors such as population growth and the needs of future generations, demographic trends, new technologies, changing social expectations and the impact of climate change.
Currently we use Zoom when facilitating online workshops, focus groups and webinars. This allows the community to participate as they would in person from their own homes using their own computer, tablet or phone.
All participants receive instructions on how to join a Zoom session ahead of the meeting and support is available during a session. Learn more about joining a Zoom meeting.