Unification through social planning

Amalgamation of the former Councils has enhanced development and delivery of Clarence Valley’s Social Plan. Council has resolved the complexities in coordinating input from four Councils, thereby enabling one standard methodology for consultations, reporting, monitoring progress and evaluating effectiveness.

The collaboration enjoyed by staff at the strategic level, and on a daily basis, has led to increased consistency in project delivery and greater equity across all communities.

The amalgamated and unified group of social planners were able to undertake more intensive consultations with the community, using a variety of tools to more clearly articulate priority issues.

The approach recognised opportunities inherent in the active community life across the Valley and built on those strengths in reaching out to residents and capturing their diversity.

The identification of three geographic planning areas across the Valley highlighted commonalities and set the context for addressing current and potential issues.

The Clarence Coast area is experiencing the greatest growth and attracts the most tourism, while the Greater Grafton area is mainly residential and industrial and has maintained its population.

The Clarence Country area is a sparsely settled rural area with over 50 localities and numerous National Parks. It has seen
little population change.

The pressures on these communities and the values that influence their response vary significantly. One unified team with common goals is proving more effective in prioritising and achieving equitable outcomes within financial constraints, while progressing the broader goals of the organisation. The ability to share events across the Valley and promote rationalisation in networks among the service and community sectors has also meant that more groups can be reached, issues can be targeted and individuals are less taxed.