Friday 31 August, 2012
Tamworth Regional Council’s Keychange Project has been awarded a Highly Commended for Excellence in Engaging and Serving Communities in the 2012 Local Government Management Excellence Awards.
The Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) NSW Management Excellence Awards held this week at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre recognised outstanding and innovative leaders, managers and councils that contributed to the advancement and improvement of local government as a sector by honouring excellence and best practice in local government and creating public awareness of the level of expertise and excellence in the local government profession.
The Keychange Project - the name Council gave to the process it undertook to transition to the new Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework for NSW councils - was nominated in the category for Excellence in Engaging and Serving Communities because of its success in getting local residents involved.
Tamworth Region Mayor Col Murray said the award was a prestigious honour for Council.
'It is a wonderful acknowledgement for the work put in by the project team headed by Lisa Roberts, the Manager of Integrated Planning and Reporting, and other Council staff,’ Cr Murray said.
‘Their work ensured the project recorded one of the highest levels of participation by local residents in a community consultation process with Council for a number of years. And, it delivered a Community Strategic Plan to guide Council’s direction for the next 10 years which truly reflects the vision of the local community.’
Tamworth Regional Council General Manager, Paul Bennett, said the award was a 'resounding acknowledgement’ for the success of the Keychange Project.
He praised the efforts of staff involved in the project as well as the former Director of Planning and Community Services, Ms Alison McGaffin, who was involved in its initial stages.
Tamworth Regional Council started the Keychange Project in 2011 to develop a 10-year Community Strategic Plan as part of the new Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework for NSW councils.
‘Council conducted extensive community engagement initiatives to develop the plan and to ensure documents produced were shaped and owned by the community,’ said Manager of Integrated Planning and Reporting, Lisa Roberts.
‘Using various engagement techniques including 50 face-to-face workshops, online surveys, social media and presentations to community groups and organisations, the Keychange team gathered information from the community which it used to produce the Community Strategic Plan so it could be created and owned by the Tamworth Region community.’
Raising awareness of the Keychange Project and providing opportunities for the community to get involved included:
- Making the Keychange Project a focus of Council’s 2011 Local Government Week – Empowering Local Communities, which involved market stalls and a barbecue in each of the region’s main towns to raise initial awareness of the project;
- Placement of an insert in the Northern Daily Leader newspaper that was distributed to over 13,000 readers across the region;
- Sending more than 18,000 letters to ratepayers;
- Developing a community service partnership with Prime Television to run a commercial for three months promoting the project and how community members could get involved;
- Distributing 18 media releases to local media;
- Placing 36 advertisements in local newspapers;
- Using social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook;
- Sending more than 4,500 emails/letters to 626 residents and businesses registered on the Keychange Project database;
- Staging a total of 50 face-to-face workshops
- Making numerous presentations to organisations and government groups, including: the Country Women’s Association, Association of Independent Retirees, Premier and Cabinet’s Regional Managers Network, and the Tamworth Place Team.
Criteria used to judge nominations in the Excellence in Engaging and Serving Communities in the 2012 Local Government Management Excellence Awards included the extent to which the project or initiative improved the level of inclusion of citizens and communities in the development of government policy, processes and/or decisions and the extent to which the project or initiative improved access for citizens and communities to government services and policy processes.