Community panels shaping inclusive engagement*

Community Panels ensure your community is represented, inclusive and heard.

In any community engagement activity, it’s fair to say that the best project insights are informed by diverse views and opinions arising from a broad cross-section of your community. 

Yet, a common challenge when engaging with your community is ensuring you are reaching a broad and representative section. 

It’s not always a reality for a wide range of community members to get involved; they can be drawn to issues which appeal to, or immediately impact, their lives.

Equally, they can shy away from issues deemed less important or interesting.

One of the best forms of overcoming this is deliberative engagement.

Deliberative engagement involves creating a sample of the community that represents its diversity and demographic mix, working together on recommendations to address the issues-at-hand. 

It works to provide increased transparency, making deliberations publicly available, better understanding of community needs and exploration of new ideas through our increasing use of digital technologies. 

Utilising community panels can be a great way to increase participation in your engagement activities, allowing opportunities for community members to ask questions, provide a variety of viewpoints and even allow observers to take part in deliberative processes.

Nillumbik Shire Council, is currently inviting their community to help prepare a new Green Wedge Management Plan, asking residents ‘What is the best way for us to manage Nillumbik’s Green Wedge, now and in the future?’ 

As part of their engagement program, a community panel of 40 randomly selected community members have been recruited to hear about, consider and weigh up issues and challenges impacting the management of the Green Wedge, an iconic rural bushland in eastern Victoria. 

Reflecting their broader community in terms of age, place and gender, the community panel will provide crucial feedback to inform recommendations made to Council that, in turn, will inform the preparation of a draft Green Wedge Management Plan. 

Supporting the Council’s implementation of their community engagement strategy is Bang the Table’s digital platform, Engagement HQ.

Nillumbik’s site

*Copy supplied by Bang the Table