Strategy 3: Involve

Goal

To work on an ongoing basis with the community to ensure that community ideas, concerns and aspirations are listened to and understood and that community knowledge is harnessed for the benefit of all.

Community involvement enables the community to provide ongoing and in-depth input into community planning and into the development of solutions and resources that are best able to meet the community’s needs. It also enables the community and service users to have substantial input into the development of services. Participatory structures and on-line engagement have the potential to empower communities and to enable residents including young people to gain skills in community participation. In turn they provide for ongoing dialogue with Council and the potential for higher quality and specialist input into Council’s planning and decision making processes.

Promise to the Community

We will work with you on an ongoing basis to ensure that your ideas, concerns and aspirations are considered. We will provide feedback on Council’s decisions.

Methodology

How

Consultative Groups

Consultative Groups are established by Council. Membership is by invitation of the Council and expressions of interest generally advertised in the media and on the web.

It is essential to the balanced operation of any consultative/working/user group and the like that membership is reflective of all views and is regularly refreshed and not “hijacked” by strongly held thoughts of non elected people or interest groups and not become “owned” by a small group of residents. Outside of the “involving process” it is inappropriate for members to lobby or endeavour to politically influence the Council.

It should be noted that all meetings of Council and any of its consultative groups are open to the public and should be advertised accordingly.

Consultative Groups have terms of reference which include:

  • Role of the group
  • Membership
  • Meeting times – usually up to three times per annum at time of day to suit members
  • Review periods – usually annually in September
  • Meeting procedures including Chair and Deputy Chair, Disclosure of any Non Pecuniary or Pecuniary Interests, adherence to Code of Conduct for such groups.
  • Minutes and any associated proposals or suggestions to be submitted to Council.

Council will establish and/or continue Consultative Groups, including the following:

  • Mosman Community – Access for All Group
    The Group to comprise:
    • Two Councillors chosen by their peers each September
    • Two Council staff, namely the Manager Community Services, and Manager Assets and Services (plus an alternative staff member from each section if either of the two members is unavailable)
    • Community membership including people with a disability sought via an expression of interest following the annual advertising of the Group in the local media and on-line
    • Other potential members may be invited at the recommendation of Mosman Council and the Group members
    • In the first instance invitations to be extended to previous members of the lapsed Community Development Advisory Group where this subject was addressed previously
    • The Group may invite a guest speaker with expertise in a specific area of interest and relevance to the Group to address a meeting.
  • Art Gallery Consultative Group
    The Group comprises:
    • Two Councillors chosen by their peers each September
    • One Council staff, namely the Manager Cultural Services (plus an alternative staff member)
    • Community representatives sought via an expression of interest following the annual advertising of the Group in the local media and on-line, to include a practicing artist, two representatives selected on the basis of skills and experience (eg. business/marketing), two representatives of the Friends of Mosman Art Gallery including a youth representative.
    • Other potential members may be invited at the recommendation of Mosman Council and the Group members
  • Community Safety Group
    The Group to comprise:
    • Two Councillors chosen by their peers each September
    • Two Council staff, namely the Manager Ranger Services, and Manager Community Services (plus an alternative staff member from each section if either of the two members is unavailable)
    • Police being representatives from Harbourside Local Area Command
    • Community membership sought via an expression of interest following the annual advertising of the Group in the local media and on-line
    • Other potential members may be invited at the recommendation of Mosman Council and the Group members
    • In the first instance invitations to be extended to previous members of the lapsed Community Development Advisory Group where this subject was addressed previously
    • The Group may invite a guest speaker with expertise in a specific area of interest and relevance to the Group to address a meeting.
  • Mosman Sustainability Group
    The Group comprises:
    • Up to four Councillors chosen by their peers each September (held over from 2008 pending outcome of this Community Engagement Strategy)
    • Two Council staff, namely the Manager Environment and Services, and Environmental Coordinator (plus an alternative staff member if either of the two members is unavailable)
    • Up to six external experts invited from professional organisations and industry
    • Up to six community representatives with knowledge and experience on sustainability issues
    • External expert membership is sought via an invitation from Mosman Council.
    • Community membership is sought via an expression of interest, following the advertisement of the Group in the local community.
    • Other potential members may be invited at the recommendation of Mosman Council and the Group members.
    • The Group may invite a guest speaker with expertise in a specific area of interest and relevance to the Group to address a meeting.
Working Groups

Council may establish Working Groups from time to time to focus on particular issues at hand. Each Working Group would be composition determined by the Council together with specific terms of reference and reporting mechanisms. These Groups are “sunset” groups which cease to function once Council is satisfied that their work is complete.

An example is the successful Bicycle Working Group which was responsible for the development of the Mosman Bicycle Strategy. It comprised a Councillor, two staff and three community representatives and reported through the Traffic Committee.

User Groups

The encouragement and support of User Groups such as:

  • Sporting Fields User Group (existing)
    The Group comprises:
    • Representatives of sporting clubs who use Council ovals
    • Two Council staff, namely Team Leader Open Space and Bookings Officer (plus an alternative staff member from each section if either of the two members is unavailable)

Other User Groups may be facilitated by Council or may be self-forming, they meet as they like, and they receive some administrative support but usually are supported by volunteers, for example:

  • Friends of the Art Gallery
  • Library Youth Consultants Group
  • Youth Centre Forum
Volunteer Groups

The encouragement and support of volunteer groups such as:

  • Bushcare Volunteers
  • Meals on Wheels Volunteers
  • Home Library Service Volunteers
  • Local Studies Volunteers
  • Friends for Carers
  • Computer Pals; and
  • Mosman Festival which is a participants and volunteers group vital to the success of the annual Festival.

These groups may be facilitated by Council or may be self-forming. They are encouraged and supported by staff who work closely with them. They focus on the service for which they volunteer. Attendance is open to all relevant volunteers and interested residents.

Liaison Groups

Liaison Groups are encouraged by Council and supported administratively. The only current such group is:

  • School Principals Liaison Group

The Group comprises:

  • All School Principals
  • One staff member namely Manager Library Services (plus an alternative staff member from the Library) together with any other staff members who have business relating to the particular meeting
  • Occasional invited guests such as the Mayor of the day, the Police, health services and the like.
On-line involvement

Make more use of on-line spaces – such as blogs and forums – where two-way communication between Council and the community is encouraged and nurtured.

Formalise moderation guidelines and terms of use (community guidelines) to ensure on-line discussions are appropriate, intelligent and lawful.

Acknowledge and mentor those community members who are active participants on-line or who wish to be.

Hold workshops for Councillors to encourage their use of blogs and other social media to communicate and converse with the community.

Hold social media workshops at Mosman Library to promote Council’s on-line engagement and give practical support for community participation.

Hold a regular brainstorming session along the lines of IBM’s Innovation Jam or the Guardian’s Hack Day to generate ideas and foster creative thinking.

Make information resources, wherever possible, available under an open content licence, specifically a Creative Commons Australia licence, to promote the use and dissemination of Council’s materials while retaining Council’s rights of authorship.

Continue collaborative projects on-line that allow the community to document and share its local knowledge while also participating in other collaborative spaces, such as Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap (an open data map repository).

Ensure that priority is given to open data formats to allow cost-effective and efficient use of that information by other Council systems as well as external applications and users. When commissioning or upgrading data systems and services, Council should prioritise the building of an application programming interface (API) to that information.

Keep relevant senior staff, managers and key professional officers informed of on-line discussions and report to Council as appropriate.

Published 2009 by Mosman Council under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 Australia licence