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Community Engagement Strategy: Principles Checklist

Principles Checklist

The Community Engagement Strategy is underpinned by the following principles which should be heeded throughout engagement processes:

Clarity of Purpose

Clear definition of why the engagement is occurring and its context, in order to plan and resource an effective process.


Demonstrated commitment to establish and maintain credibility and accountability.


Friendly, welcoming environment with appropriate refreshments provided.


Mutual respect for the needs, aspirations and opinions of all within the community.


Ensure that all individuals or groups can access the process.

Be sensitive to the needs of particular individuals or groups to maximise their ability to contribute.

Provide information in a form that is easy to understand and appropriate for all sectors of the community.

Accessibility on-line acknowledges users with a disability as well as those with Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), mobile devices or older browsers. It also takes into account the ability of other machines to read and process Council content and data programmatically for the benefit of users. Practically, this principle requires Council to follow the Web Accessibility Initiative’s (WAI) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, use open web standards, avoid proprietary technologies


Establishment of a two way process of providing accurate and timely information, and demonstration that feedback is being valued.


Establishment of good engagement practices that are based on sound research and quality information.

Flexibility & Responsiveness

Establishment of engagement plans that are flexible during the process, eg. time and venue may change due to community feedback.


Ensure that participants know how long an engagement process is expected to last and when feedback is expected at each stage of the process.


Ensure that a cross section of the community is invited to the community engagement activity.

Moderation of on-line discussions

A moderation process to ensure the discussion is appropriate, intelligent and lawful. Editing will only occur to remove a contribution that:

• Is off-topic
• Is defamatory, abusive, harassing or hateful
• Includes any abusive, obscene, indecent or offensive language
• Endorses commercial products or activities or solicits business
• Violates copyrights or other forms of licences and consents
• Invades anyone’s privacy, reveals the identity of another user or impersonates anyone
• Encourages conduct that may or would constitute a criminal offence or give rise to civil liability, or that otherwise violates any local, state, national or international law or regulation anywhere in the world

It will state publicly when and why a contribution has been edited or removed.


Establishment of partnerships with relevant community groups, State and Federal government, local government partners, other stakeholders, and/or with internal sections within Council.


Members of various consultative groups, along with Councillors and staff to adhere to relevant Code of Conduct including requirements to address pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests and to allow the views of all members to be heard.

Don’t over consult

The community is consulted about a range of issues and by a range of people in a range of ways. It is important to recognise this and not to over consult which can result in residents feeling that their time is being wasted and comments such as “we have already told you what we want, why are you asking us again?” This can be avoided by utilising existing research and findings of other consultations that Council or other agencies have conducted, whilst being mindful that contemporary thinking is important to Council’s planning.

Continuous Learning

Establishment of a reporting system to ensure that Council learns from the community engagement activity and is able to monitor and evaluate success to enable improvements.

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