|Brief description of technique
|These committees are made up of council and
community representatives, established to provide input
and overview for either a particular project or issue
(steering committee) or on an ongoing basis on specific
issues (advisory committee).
|To what kinds of consultation situations
is this approach best suited?
Steering/Advisory committees are suited to overseeing
developing projects, issues or long-term and targeted
|How much time is generally needed?
|Committees may be time-limited subject to the
statutory requirements of a land use decision or they
can be ongoing and can be convened over years.
|What skills are required?
Facilitation or chairing skills are very important.
Third-party facilitation may help if the issue or process
is particularly contentious.
|How are target populations identified and
Steering committee members will have some sort of stake
in the issue or process being discussed or developed.
It is important that the key power brokers are involved,
otherwise they risk becoming vocal outsiders to this
Advisory committee members may have a specific skill
set or knowledge-base relevant to the emerging strategy
Potential committee members are often interviewed before
selection by the convening body. Special needs of committee
members will be canvassed at this time, which will include
preference for venue and meeting times. Other needs,
such as access requirements to venues and childcare
assistance, may be relevant.
|What kind of information do participants
require prior to their involvement?
Depending on the issue, participants should receive
draft Terms of Reference for the committee, detailed
reports and background information on the issue; have
access to any visual or audio-visual information which
is relevant and details of key contacts or staff members
to contact regarding their involvement.
They should also have a clear understanding of what
their involvement might mean in terms of time required
and anticipated input.
|Brief outline of how the process usually
- Depending on the issue, meeting times and frequency
will vary. For example, the development of a positioning
policy such as a drugs strategy will require monthly
meetings, whereas committees convened around land
use planning decisions may require more frequent contact.
- Terms of Reference are often circulated in draft
form for agreement at the first meeting of the committee.
These will typically contain information on the scope,
role and responsibilities of the committee and timelines,
- As well as agreed terms of reference, other protocols
may be determined at the outset of the meeting. These
could relate to respecting the views of others and
other housekeeping matters. This theme of agreeing
on key points of the process is important in ensuring
committee members move forward together.
- The committee will work towards its task, as identified
in the Terms of reference. It will often work with
consultants or staff members, who may present information
to inform committee discussions.
- A willingness to compromise and a commitment to
the process are often key features of a successful
committee. It is important that members representing
broader stakeholders communicate with their constituencies.
- Generally, steering/advisory committee members
will be resourced by local government staff and will
receive agendas and minutes prior to any designated
meetings. Accurate reporting of proceedings is important.
|How the process is successfully concluded?
- The process is concluded with the completion of
the policy or strategy or a decision made on a land
use planning issue. This might include a set of actions,
a formal report or recommendations to council.
|How this approach is usually evaluated?
|Evaluation for advisory committee may
include a feedback or evaluation sheet for committee members.
- Provides detailed analyses of project issues.
- Participants gain an understanding of other perspectives,
leading towards compromise.
- General public may not embrace committee's recommendations.
- Members may not achieve consensus.
- Sponsors must accept the need for 'give and take'.
- Time and labour intensive.
Depending on its duration, this can be a resource-intensive
process in relation to staff time, use of consultants
and venue hire.
|Council or other authority
|Wellington Shire Council
|Name of Project
|Streets of Harmony
|Date of consultation
|Ongoing - started January 2002
|Aim of consultation
|To engage a group of young people to perform
a mapping and scoping exercise to identify projects, programs
and that could involve young people. The programs did
not have to be youth-specific.
|Consultation methods used
- One-to-one interviews
- Weekly committee meetings
|Description of consultation
The target group was people aged between 12 and 24,
who may not usually get involved in such a project.
A school-based welfare worker helped select the initial
group of young people that formed the Streets of Harmony
Committee and has been involved in the development of
a mapping and scoping exercise. The committee developed
a survey and undertook consultation with community groups,
businesses and other young people within the shire.
About 20 young people have been involved in the committee
and there are currently eight committee members who
meet weekly. The numbers fluctuate slightly due to study,
employment and sporting commitments. Training has and
will continue to be provided to give the young people
the skills they need to complete the project. The Streets
of Harmony Committee is still meeting regularly to implement
the recommendations from the consultation.
|Success of the consultation
From council's perspective, the consultation has been
successful. It has given young people an opportunity
to identify issues that are important to them and has
produced a database of youth programs which outlines
their cost, where they are, who runs them, the amount
of youth involvement, availability, and the possibility
of further youth involvement. The youth committee has
used this database to recommend issues and projects
to focus on. The participants had a strong dedication
to the project and a sense of ownership about the programs
to be implemented from their recommendations.
An important lesson was to identify and use the participants'
existing skills and allow them to develop new ones.
As the project progresses, the participants' confidence
and abilities increased.