This section provides an overview of the standard tools and techniques used for community engagement activities and how we will report engagement results and Council decisions to participants.

For every community engagement, we create an engagement plan that lists the most effective ways to reach the community and/or stakeholders and enable them to participate. These are our engagement tools.

The engagement plan also includes how we will keep participants up-to-date on the project, including on the results of the engagement and any Council decisions made regarding the project. We call this reporting back.

Engagement tools and techniques

The below table provides an overview of the standard tools and techniques used for community engagement activities. Tools are selected to ensure we can capture relevant feedback, meet the needs of participants, and are appropriate to the level of engagement and influence.

For example, if the level of engagement is ‘Collaborate’ where participants have a high level of influence, we may run working groups and deliberative panels. These types of tools would not be appropriate at an ‘Inform’ level where participants have no ability to influence the decision.

Within a single project, different parts of the community or specific stakeholder groups may have different levels of influence and therefore be offered specific opportunities to participate.

IAP2 Spectrum Level of influenceExample tools and techniquesInformation exchange

No ability to influence the decision.

  • Letter
  • Newsletter
  • Flyer, poster
  • Signage
  • Social media
  • Website
We provide information to the community.
ConsultLow level of influence.
Usually a requirement for feedback or more information by Council.
  • Survey
  • Submission
  • Poll
  • Drop in / pop up
We provide information and receive a response from the community.
InvolveModerate level of influence.
Council and community benefit from an exchange in information.
  • Interviews
  • Workshops
  • Focus groups
  • Community forum
  • Site visit
The community spends time considering information before providing a response.
CollaborateModerate to high level of influence, decision making still lies with Council.
Greater opportunities to influence the project through a planned and longer consultation process.
  • Advisory groups
  • Working group
  • Deliberative panel
The community and Council exchange information before making a recommendation.
EmpowerHigh level of influence.
Decision making is placed in the hands of the public.
  • Section 86 Committees
  • Citizens Juries
  • Democratic voting
Council provides information to the community and the community will debate and inform Council of the agreed decision.

Participation time

There is no set time period for a community engagement. Participation or consultation time can range from weeks to months, depending on the level and stages of engagement, the tools used, and the complexity of the subject matter and information materials.

Where the community has greater influence on the decision, such as at collaborate and empower level, it is necessary to ensure ample time is provided to allow consideration and conversation.

How we keep participants informed

The tools listed under Inform in the table above will be used to raise community and stakeholder awareness of opportunities to participate, and throughout the project to keep participants and the Bayside community up-to-date on its progress.

The selection of communication tools is based on:

  • Interested community members
  • Level of impact the project will have
  • Type of information to be shared.

For most projects, we will use more than one tool to maximise the audience who will hear about the project.

Registered members of Have Your Say are notified by email as soon as a community engagement opens (provided it is within their selected areas of interest in their profile). To register to receive Have Your Say updates, click 'Join' at the top of this page.

Another great way to stay up-to-date on Council news and opportunities to participate is to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.

Reporting back on outcomes

Providing feedback to participants is an important part of the engagement process.

Following completion of the community engagement period, a report will be prepared that summarises the engagement process, participants and findings. This report will be publicly available, such as via Have Your Say, the relevant Council meeting agenda, or Council's website. Participants who ‘subscribe’ to a Have Your Say project page or provide contact details by other methods will be notified when the report is available.

The timing of the release of the report is dependent on a number of factors, including the volume of data generated, and the preparation of other materials, such as technical or financial reports, which may be required alongside the engagement report to inform any decisions.

Those who participate in engagement and provide contact details will be notified via email (or post, if requested) when:

  • there are project updates
  • the item will be discussed at an Ordinary meeting of Council (where relevant), and/or
  • on the outcome of the project or matter that is the subject of the engagement.

Ordinary meetings of Council are open to the public and are live streamed from Council's website. Decisions are recorded in the Council minutes, which are released and published on Council's website within 48 hours of the meeting.