Bayside City Council’s engagement process is based on the The International Association of Public Participation’s (IAP2) Public Participation Model. The IAP2 is a recognised leader in community engagement and has developed tools that are widely used by governments, institutions and other entities that affect the public interest.

The IAP2 spectrum identifies five levels of engagement. At each level the public can expect to have a different amount of influence over the end outcome or decision.

As shown in the table below, the level of engagement with the lowest opportunity to influence is ‘Inform’, while ‘Empower’ provides the greatest level of influence, putting the decision completely in the hands of the community.

The level of engagement may also vary for different stakeholders and/or stages of a project.

What do the different levels of participation mean?

IAP2 definitionsInformConsultInvolveCollaborateEmpower
Public participation goal
To provide the public with balanced and objective information to assist them in understanding the problem, alternatives, opportunities and/or solutions.
To obtain public feedback for analysis, alternatives, or decisions.
To work directly with the public throughout the process to ensure that public concerns and aspirations are consistently understood and considered.
To partner with the public in each aspect of the decision including the development of alternatives and the identification of the preferred solution.
To place final decision making in the hands of the public.
Promise to the publicWe will keep you informed.We will keep you informed, listen to and acknowledge concerns and aspirations, and provide feedback on how public input influenced the decision.We will work with you to ensure that your concerns and aspirations are directly reflected in the alternatives developed and provide feedback on how public input influenced the decision.We will work together with you to formulate solutions and incorporate your advice and recommendations into the decisions to the maximum extent possible.We will implement what you decide.
Level of influenceNo ability to influence the decision.Low level of influence, usually a requirement for feedback or more information by Council.Moderate level of influence, Council and community benefit from an exchange in information.Moderate to high level of influence, decision making still lies with Council. There are greater opportunities to influence the project through a planned and longer consultation process.High level of influence decision making is placed in the hands of the public.

Applying the IAP2 spectrum

The Local Government Act 2020 emphasises community influence and participation in strategic planning and resource distribution through the development of a Community Vision and the subsequent development of the Council Plan, Financial Plan and Asset Plan.

In most situations, there is more opportunity for community to influence decisions regarding strategy and policy where the options have not yet been defined. As the project progresses towards detailed design and delivery there is typically less that the community can influence.

The table below shows where different stages of strategies, plans or projects are likely sit on Bayside City Council's application of the IAP2 spectrum.

  • We deliberate the options for the development of long-term strategic plans, such as the Council Vision, Council Plan, Financial Plan and Asset Plan. This involves assessing community needs and determining priorities. Under Local Government Act 2020 requirements, we will use deliberative tools of engagement to develop these plans, working with you at moderate to high (involve, collaborate and empower) levels of influence and engagement.
  • Decide the change is the big picture; developing the strategies that focus and prioritise our resources. Here, we’ll work with you (involve) or partner with you (collaborate) to achieve consensus and create solutions. This is when you can expect to have a moderate to high level of influence on ideas, initiatives and decisions.
  • Design the change is when we begin planning what an idea or strategy could look like. Here, we’ll seek feedback (consult) and work with people (involve) who are directly affected by the change. Here, the community can expect to have a moderate level of influence on the project.
  • When it comes time to deliver the change, there may not be much that the community can influence, so engagement is mostly seeking feedback (consult) from those most affected or providing information (inform) to our community.
Bayside application of the IAP2 Public Participation Spectrum
Decide the change
Deliberate the options
Design the change
Deliver the change

Next → The types of engagement tools we use to collect feedback and information, and how we report back on engagement results and Council decisions.