Engaging with our community

Listening to our community and involving you in decision making is a priority for us.

Our Community Engagement Strategy and principles of community led governance guide how we do this. 

Goals and principles of community-led governance

Our goals of community-led governance are:

  • Empowering Communities
  • Helping communities achieve local visions
  • Learning and sharing.

Community-led governance principles

Our core principles that guide decision-making, operations and services are:

  • Make space for communities to take action themselves and respond positively to local initiatives
  • Acknowledge community diversity and involve everyone
  • Encourage maximum and shared use of public spaces
  • Collaborate to join-up services and planning
  • Forge strong local and regional partnerships to address issues and drive change at community, state and federal level
  • Empower community members through participatory and deliberative democracy
  • Have the courage to take informed risks to bring about necessary change.   


Examples of community led governance

Community collaboration

Helping communities achieve local visions

Deliberative Democracy

Deliberative democracy is another form of community engagement.  It's an opportunity for us to hear from a broader cross-section of the community. 

Some recent examples include:

  • The Byron Model
  • Community Solutions Panel – Infrastructure Spending Priorities
  • Community Solutions Panel – Sustainable Visitation Strategy.

The Byron Model

Following the first Community Solutions Panel, we created the “Byron Model”. This was developed to guide how we collaborated and engaged with the community. 

The Byron Model Panel, made up of residents, councillors and other stakeholders helped to develop the Byron Model.

The panel met over three months to develop recommendations and prepare a final Recommendations Report. 

The two year trial concluded in October 2021 and Council has implemented several initiatives in response to the recommendations, which include but are not limited to the following:

  • Developed guidelines for factoring engagement timeframes into project planning, which have been added to the Communication and Engagement Toolkit.
  • Created a Citizen Lottery to help us engage across various demographics. Members may be randomly selected to participate, get involved and provide feedback on a range of topics and projects. The first selection was used for the Place Planning Collective. Current membership is 422 participants. 
  • Developed new Petition Guidelines to improve community engagement on contentious issues.
  • Implemented software for Corporate Planning & Reporting for improved Operational Plan reporting. Quarterly Council reports are available to the community offering a snapshot of progress against the Operational Plan.
  • Developed and implemented an Accessible Documents Plan, associated templates, and delivered staff training to improve the accessibility of Council’s documents.
  • Ongoing review of website accessibility with recommendations implemented as required.
  • Implemented VendorPanel (procurement software) used to access local suppliers and provide information about upcoming contracts and tenders.
  • Updated Council’s website with additional governance information.
  • A refreshed branding strategy.

During the trial there were a number of opportunities for improvement regarding the deliberative process, the delivery of meaningful and practical initiatives and the process of evaluating the outcomes of the trial.  These ‘lessons learnt’ have been documented and presented to the Executive Team for consideration.