From what I hear, there’s a lot of discussion in local government about rate capping right now. Everyone has seen the list of Councils seeking exemption.
The Essential Services Commission (ESC) & Community Engagement
The ESC, described by an opposition MP as ‘pointy heads’ are quite pointed in the direction they provide on seeking community views. Community engagement needs to be early. The engagement should look at larger buckets of money, not one off projects. And the community should be invited to do something more than reading a brochure or ticking a survey box. In other words, councils should look beyond Inform and Consult to Involve and Collaborate on the IAP2 spectrum (p82). That is to say more power sharing would be good.
Involve and Collaborate, or building relationships
If you look at Involve and Collaborate simply as terms on a spectrum, that’s just conceptual. Through experience you might see them differently. Involve and Collaborate take the council’s ‘date’ with the community into more of a ‘meet the family’. For example in a participatory budget, the participants are presented with strategic information that council managers would generally think of as in-house. They may meet council directors, managers and councillors. This builds relationships.
Implicit in the ESC’s direction, and in the IAP2’s Involve and Collaborate is this: leaders can and should aspire to increase confidence between public service providers and citizens. You might reading an interview with workers from Newcastle City Council in the UK on their program Udecide, which brings out more on this theme.
Up until the introduction of Udecide, to my knowledge we had never given citizens the power to make decisions about how public money was spent. Our decision-making was always made by officers of the local authority and by elected members, and decisions over a certain amount of money, if they were made by officers, then had to be ratified by council members. Read more …