Community consultation is both a legislative obligation for Local Government and a cornerstone of how councils engage with their respective communities. newfocus has been employed by many councils to design and facilitate their consultation processes.
newfocus has developed a number of consultation techniques and methodologies, which enable councils to comply with legislation whilst achieving a sound understanding of community opinion.
newfocus understand that community consultation and engagement is a risk management technique that underpins the successful implementation of council policy and initiatives.
The data you own (sometimes called big data collated over years from ratepayers), along with the comments and feedback given to customer service officers and data in your numerous reports, is often weighed down by detail and lacking in clarity.
Perhaps your need is for customised community engagement to test new initiatives, solve specific local issues, assess council services or manage implementation of strategic policies.
newfocus tailors research to the challenges and issues to be assessed.
Adherence to the legislative requirements is imperative. However, it is the willingness to go beyond the standard level of ‘compliance’ and truly engage with ratepayers, residents and business operators that contributes to an increase in community satisfaction with their council.
After being invited to participate in community consultation and engagement activities, community members will actively discuss the experience with others, resulting in increased positive word of mouth in relation to the council consultative process.
By developing a flexible public consultation policy, and outlining the specific requirements as stated in the Act, your council will be seen as proactive and accessible, providing information to the community while making it easy for them to comment and discuss.
Through engaging and consulting with your community, council can assess what issues are relevant to the community by segment, prioritise the issues that are most important and implement strategies to achieve them.
Exploring areas that are particularly sensitive or controversial in nature can often be a challenge for council. Commissioning an independent third party to explore perceptions around these issues will lead to more informed risk management in the decision making process by providing insights as to how to handle these issues within the community.
newfocus has conducted customer satisfaction for local government clients over many years. We have access to thousands of benchmark scores against which your overall score can be compared.
With expertise in community engagement and the ability to also offer customer satisfaction measurement and ad hoc market and social research projects, newfocus offers a full suite of services to match your needs.
Engaging with your community doesn’t have to be expensive. Methods of consultation are tailored to match the needs of the identified project. Segments within the community can be targeted to provide feedback on issues pertinent to planning stages, residential area or business type.
Options range from one on one in-depth interviews with key stakeholders, focus group discussions with particular groups, to large scale representative cross section samples of your community that are robust enough to confidently extrapolate to total population.
The combination of our expertise in social research design and the application of innovative technology means our approach to community consultation provides information that truly represents current opinion, and after analysis provides clear direction for implementation of policy for our clients.
newfocus can assist you to choose the most cost effective method of engagement with the community or a segment of the community as appropriate for the topic but with minimal demands on the target audience.