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Advancing citizen engagement in times of crisis

18-19 November 2020

The Increasing Citizen Engagement Masterclass has been designed to equip your organisation with the tools and strategies to increase their citizen and community engagement, especially during times of crisis when it’s needed the most.

Masterclass Overview

Citizen engagement is critical for innovation and the quality and effectiveness of services, policies and programs. It also plays a vital function in capacity building and supporting democratic processes.

For us to tackle the key challenges we are facing we all need to work together as citizens with a shared purpose. Citizen engagement is particularly important during times of crisis, such as COVID-19, and it’s more crucial than ever that governments across Australia are transparent in their decisions and engage the public in their plans and processes.

However, the overall trust and confidence in governments has continued to decline and recently hit a historic low. Attend this two-day masterclass to gain practical tools and frameworks on how your organisation can better engage the community through improved approaches to engagement, co-design frameworks, the value of social research and the use of technology.

Attend and develop strategies to:

Develop a strategic approach to working with citizens

Engage the community in policy setting, project design and service delivery

Increase citizens trust and confidence in the public sector

Understanding co-design

Effectively engage the community in times of crisis

Utilise technology for digital engagement

Evaluate the success of your engagement strategy

Event Schedule

9:00am Masterclass Commences
4:30pm End of Day One
Each day the facilitator will assign time for a morning, lunch and afternoon break.

Session one: Creating a strategically aligned community engagement approach

Community engagement is critical to ensure the quality and effectiveness of services and programs, as well as building capacity and supporting democratic processes. This session will examine some practical strategies that will enhance engagement through strong strategic alignment.

  • Understanding the strategic purpose of engagement
  • Establishing a common purpose and commitment
  • Identifying your stakeholders and their objectives
  • Setting clear and specific goals and identifying priorities

Session two: Improving and regaining the community’s trust

The Australian public’s trust in government has been declining for some years, which can lead to detrimental outcomes. During times of crisis, such as the ongoing pandemic, it’s particularly important that governments gain citizens’ trust. This session will examine ways for governments to gain and regain the community’s trust through effective communications and engagement strategies.

  • Increasing decision makers condence in engagement outcomes
  • How to rebuild broken trust and build new relationships
  • Increasing transparency in decision-making processes
  • Developing and implementing frameworks for citizen participation and inclusion

Session three: Building community capacity for effective engagement

When creating successful engagement strategies, it’s critical to ensure the community and its members have ample of opportunity to make their voices and opinions heard. This session will examine ways to successfully engage citizens through practical communications frameworks and strategies.

  • Ensuring there’s a two-way communication stream
  • Providing opportunity for ongoing feedback and communication
  • Consulting with the community to identify their values and concerns on future plans and projects

9:00am Masterclass Commences
4:30pm End of Day Two
Each day the facilitator will assign time for a morning, lunch and afternoon break.

Session four: Engaging the community in policy setting and project design

Members of the public and the community play a vital part in ensuring the successes of projects, services and polices, and this can only be enhanced through collaboration. This session will provide attendees with the strategies to effectively include community members in the decision making process as well as how to co-design services and programs.

  • Preparing a framework for a co-design process and participation
  • Consulting with existing and potential stakeholders to identify the best type of process
  • Preparing a plan
  • Ensuring there are feedback opportunities to ensure all parties are heard and the project is tracking in the right direction
  • Effectively evaluating your co-design process and its delivery

Session five: Evaluating the success of your engagement strategy

This session will examine ways to utilise data to monitor and evaluate the success of your evaluation strategy. Attendees will also gain knowledge on how to create their own evaluation tools to effectively measure impact.

  • Understanding your community, their needs and values by translating data
  • Effectively monitoring and measuring community engagement in real-time
  • Creating evaluation tools to measure the impact in the community

Session six: Effectively engaging the community in times of crisis

It’s particularly important for governments and councils to ensure they’re effectively engaging communities and citizens during times of crisis, such as the current pandemic, as the consequences of not doing so could turn detrimental. This session will focus on how you ensure high community engagement levels in times of rapid change and distress.

  • Putting frameworks into place to be able to provide rapid responses to unforeseen events
  • How to engage citizens during limited time-frames
  • Ensuring there are follow-ups and implementing a long-term engagement plan after a crisis

Trainer Profile

Roberta Ryan
Professor Roberta Ryan, University of Newcastle

Professor Roberta Ryan is a recognised expert in community and stakeholder engagement. Roberta designs and conducts engagement training and graduate courses in NSW and overseas. As an expert in community engagement and facilitation, Roberta designs and conducts processes for a range of clients from government, industry and the not-for-prot sectors.

She is expert in engagement planning and facilitation practice.Having expertise in land use, infrastructure and sustainability planning, Roberta has developed and provided input into strategies for councils, governments, utilities, commercial and residential developments.

She has been the Independent Community Liaison Representative for the Lane Cove Tunnel Project and is currently appointed as the Independent chair of the NSW Ports Corporation Community Liaison Committee (CCC) on the Port Botany Expansion, St Catherine’s School expansion and the Whitehaven Mine expansion CCCs.

She has designed and facilitated a range of projects from large scale public consultation for the NSW Metropolitan Strategy to innovative community panel and citizens’ jury processes. Roberta has developed visioning strategies in a range of contexts. Roberta has a demonstrated track record of innovative stakeholder engagement design and delivery.

She is also currently appointed by the NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces as a member of the Sydney Eastern City Regional Planning Panel and she is a non-executive director of Unisson Disability Services as well as a board member and Regional VP of International Association of Schools and Institute of Administration.

“I have worked with Roberta and her team as client over the last few years on a number of strategic policy research, engagement, evaluation, and advisory consultancies through my role as General Manager of Bellingen Shire Council, and on the executive of the Mid North Coast Joint Organisation of Councils (MNCJO).

This work has greatly assisted Council and contributed to our shortlisting for Local Government NSW’s 2019 Bluett Award the highest accolade in the sector. This work has also greatly assisted the MNCJO in its establishment and successful functioning over the past 18 months.”

Liz Jeremy, General Manager
Bellingen Shire Council

Who Should Attend

Director of Community Engagement, Communications Managers, Head of Stakeholder Engagement and Relations, Public Relations Managers, Digital and Online Engagement Managers


Early bird discount

Book now and save $200

Team discount

Register 3-4 delegates and receive an additional 10% DISCOUNT off the standard price
Register 5-7 delegates and receive an additional 15% DISCOUNT off the standard price
Register 8 or more delegates and receive an additional 20% DISCOUNT off the standard price

To The Event.