2020 Core Values Awards Winner | Community Engagement in Australian Local Government: The Practice and its pressures
Institute for Public Policy and Governance: University of Technology Sydney
Community engagement has become an imperative of Australian local governments. Driven by legislative requirements and increasing demands from communities, there has been a proliferation of practitioners, policies, frameworks and reports that aim to enhance public involvement in decision- making. The facilitation of this involvement is lauded as a demonstration of democracy in action; however, the practice in its current form is in relative infancy. As such, issues surrounding the practice and professionalisation are emerging which require examination and careful consideration. These issues include the increasing commercialisation of community engagement, social closure created through rofessionalisation, and the impacts of current practices on the quality and effectiveness of local democracy.
This research critically explores the practice and professionalisation of community engagement in Australian local governments. The exploration is guided by an explanatory mixed- methods research approach that combines quantitative and qualitative instruments to ensure a robust and thorough exploration. The main instruments for collecting data are a census of local government community engagement practice, a survey of community engagement practitioners and a series of semistructured interviews with senior practitioners.
Find out more about the 2020 Core Values Awards winners and finalists in the 2020 showcase booklet.