Key insights from the “State of the Practice” online survey

Satellite image of Australia and New Zealand

In 2018, IAP2 Australasia introduced the new initiative, Pitch for the Practice which invited practitioners to propose a project which would advance the practice of community and stakeholder engagement across Australia and New Zealand. Projects were then voted on by IAP2 members with the most popular funded for activation.

Articulous was successful with their proposal for State of the Practice. With engagement coming under increased scrutiny by CEOs, managers and communities to demonstrate its value, Articulous proposed the largest ever survey of Australasian community and stakeholder engagement practitioners to evaluate and measure the state of the practice. This was undertaken as an online survey. State of the Practice was engineered to create a picture of who is doing what and where.

The online survey can be viewed at this was promoted at events, online, via social media and during face-to-face training sessions.

Practitioners who responded represented both urban and regional areas, all levels of government along with consultancies who have the full gamut of years in practice.

Nearly 300 practitioners from all states and territories of Australia, and throughout New Zealand completed the 20 question survey, which took an average of 30 minutes to respond to. The questions ranged from core demographic to the future forward ‘What’s the next big thing for engagement?’

Survey questions probed beyond demographics into the what, how and why of engagement practice, exploring expenditure, personal satisfaction, budgets, methods, challenges and opportunities.

Preliminary findings showed that 90% of practitioners believe face-to-face methods provide high quality engagement, compared with 75% of practitioners who believe online engagement provides high quality engagement.

View the results in more detail.

A few key insights

  • You will find community and stakeholder engagement practitioners mostly on the eastern seaboard of Australia, and mostly in urban settings.
  • Engagement practitioners are not well represented within the Federal Government.
  • The vast majority of practitioners are project-based.
  • The majority of engagement project budgets sit within the $10,000-$50,000 range, although a quarter are under $5,000.
  • Where do most practitioners work on the IAP2 Spectrum? Three quarters indicate that they work at the Consult level.
  • Practitioners are generally happy working in engagement – with an average satisfaction rating of 8.2/10.
  • Australasian practitioners have a slight preference for face-to-face to online engagement.
  • Respondents indicated that they believed there would be greater use of both face-to-face and online, methods in almost equal amounts in the near future.
  • A common theme underpinning a number of responses was the desire for better understanding of engagement and consultation along with a great level of acceptance and value.
  • Face-to-face methods are clearly preferred when building relationships with only a handful of respondents preferring a mix of face-to-face and online.