Community reference group appointed

Bega Valley Shire Council has appointed a seven-person Community Engagement and Communications Reference Group to advise it on how best to interact with the community.

General manager Leanne Barnes said Council recognised the important role community members played in planning for, providing and guiding Council services.

“There are a number of groups and individuals that contribute positively to working with Council and who have ideas about how Council and the community can work better together,” she said.

“Council resolved in February to call for nominations from people interested in contributing to the development and implementation of Council’s Communications Strategy, Community Engagement Policy and Community Engagement Procedure. 

“We were seeking ratepayers or residents who had experience and expertise in communications and who were interested in representing a balanced view from the community in the interest of developing and enhancing Council and community relationships.”

The reference group will be chaired by the Mayor and the Chair of the Leading Organisation Committee will be a member of the group.

All Councillors, the general manager and key staff may attend and participate in the reference group discussions.

Ms Barnes said the reference group would provide a forum for community members to be involved in the development of processes and to ensure there was clear communication between Council and the community. 

“The group will assist Council to ensure we are providing opportunity for people to have input in the decisions that affect them and that Council’s processes and procedures are clear and consistently applied.”

Ms Barnes said a communications specialist would also be engaged to prepare a strategy and action plan for improving community engagement and opportunities for input to Council operations.

“We advertised in January for communications consultants to quote on reviewing our current activities and future priorities, and from this we received 11 quotes.

"Councillors have since reviewed the quotes and selected  Sydney’s Two Cents Group to assist us in implementing a solid communications and engagement plan.

“The consultancy will conduct a comprehensive review of our existing policies and procedures, and our identified future activities, followed by a detailed implementation plan including advice on timing, resources and implementation strategies over an 18 month period.

“I am looking forward to working with the reference group and with Two Cents Group who between them will bring a range of skills and interests to the table.”

The members appointed to the Community Engagement and Communications Reference Group are:

·                   Susan MacGillivray

·                   Veronica Coen

·                   Anthony Ovington

·                   Fraser Buchanan

·                   Jan Aveyard

·                   Stephen Salt

·                   Kara Dunn

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