A new report has highlighted how local government is well placed to initiate and enable collective working models with residents and community stakeholders that respond to local area needs in “meaningful, innovative and sustainable” ways.
The report released by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Centre for Local Government (CLG) titled Walking With Communities explores how local governments are positioned to work with their communities.
Co-author of the report, CLG Program Specialist Sophi Bruce said local governments are uniquely positioned to shape and build local places.
“Through this research, we have found that councils who are exploring different ways of working with their communities have opened up opportunities for impactful collaborative approaches on local issues that are most important for residents,” Ms Bruce said.
The report explores how local governments can adopt a ‘facilitative and consultative’ role where place-focused programs and initiatives are informed by community.
It highlights Burnie City Council in Tasmania and Penrith City Council in New South Wales as case study examples of councils that are working with community stakeholders using collective and collaborative approaches.
According to the report, the councils have adopted new programs and initiatives to target local area renewal harnessing the ideas, perspectives and skills of local residents, who are enabled by the resources, advocacy and support of the councils.
“Collaboration initiatives between local governments and their communities must be based on quality dialogue that involves residents in a meaningful way.”
Place Co-ordinator of Penrith City Council and co-author of the report Heather Chaffey said the new model of practice “shifts the focus of our work” from ‘doing for’ residents to ‘walking with’ communities to combat place-based issues.
This report provides governments and stakeholders involved in local and place-focused renewal with ideas and tools that can help inform and shape new community collaboration initiatives for their own contexts.
Walking with Communities is relevant for organisations who seek to explore and create opportunities for community stakeholders to advocate and deliver for themselves.