THE innovative ‘OurSay’ community engagement process, held for the first time by South Gippsland Shire Council late last year, has proved to be one of the most effective ways in which Council has ever worked with the community to gather ideas, and then prioritise and workshop them, according to the mayor, Cr Jeanette Harding.
This particular exercise was focussed on gathering early input that would assist Council in developing the 2015-16 Budget.
It comprised a two week on-line forum which attracted 98 ideas with 762 people engaged and providing 4,223 votes. Two community workshops followed, conducted by an independent ‘OurSay’ facilitator, to discuss and further develop the top five ideas, along with other issues participants wanted to discuss. Council’s initial responses to the top ten ideas can be viewed on the ‘OurSay’ link, along with a short video of the workshops.
The mayor noted that most people are busy and don’t want to be out at multiple meetings.
“They want to be able to participate in a concise and effective way and the ‘OurSay’ process allows them to do this through the ease of social media and to then participate at a deeper level in workshops when the ideas have been consolidated and prioritised,” said Cr Harding.
“I really want to thank those who took the time to participate on-line and face to face at the workshops. We have a wealth of expertise and experience in the people of our communities that can inform our decision making at Council, and we received many favourable comments from seasoned participants who felt this has been the most effective way to date to extract and develop the priority issues that will grow South Gippsland, citing the independent facilitator as a powerful tool for idea progression.”
Cr Harding added: “I encourage everyone to log on to the council website (www.southgippsland.vic.gov.au) and click on the OurSay link to study the top ten ideas and the next steps that are being planned. You can still register and add comments, although submitting proposals and voting has now ended for this particular exercise.”
Council officers have already commenced discussions with the authors of these ideas and several have made presentations to Council outlining more details regarding their proposals.
Further information will be provided to the community to discuss options or other considerations arising from these shared deliberations.
Council will run further consultation activities throughout the year using the OurSay process, so register on-line through the OurSay link and join in the conversations. For residents who do not have their own computer or internet access, there are several community facilities, including the libraries and local community centres, which can provide this access either free or at little cost.