Data

General Issues
Planning & Development
Specific Topics
Infrastructure
Water Quality
Location
Victoria
Australia
Scope of Influence
Regional
Start Date
End Date
Ongoing
No
Time Limited or Repeated?
A single, defined period of time
Purpose/Goal
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of government and public bodies
Develop the civic capacities of individuals, communities, and/or civil society organizations
Approach
Co-governance
Spectrum of Public Participation
Collaborate
Total Number of Participants
36
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Open to All
Recruitment Method for Limited Subset of Population
Stratified Random Sample
General Types of Methods
Deliberative and dialogic process
General Types of Tools/Techniques
Facilitate dialogue, discussion, and/or deliberation
Facilitate decision-making
Propose and/or develop policies, ideas, and recommendations
Specific Methods, Tools & Techniques
Deliberation
Legality
Yes
Facilitators
Yes
Facilitator Training
Professional Facilitators
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Online
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Discussion, Dialogue, or Deliberation
Information & Learning Resources
Expert Presentations
Video Presentations
Written Briefing Materials
Decision Methods
Voting
If Voting
Super-Majoritarian
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Public Report
Minority Report
Primary Organizer/Manager
MosaicLab
Type of Organizer/Manager
Individual
Government-Owned Corporation
Funder
Coliban Water
Type of Funder
Government-Owned Corporation
Staff
Yes
Evidence of Impact
Yes
Types of Change
Changes in public policy
Changes in how institutions operate
Implementers of Change
Corporations
Formal Evaluation
Yes
Evaluation Report Documents
Coliban_Water_Pricing_Submission_-_Community_Panel_-_Process_Report_-_March_2022_Final.pdf

CASE

Coliban Water Community Panel

28. Juli 2023 friedel.marquardt
25. Juli 2023 friedel.marquardt
General Issues
Planning & Development
Specific Topics
Infrastructure
Water Quality
Location
Victoria
Australia
Scope of Influence
Regional
Start Date
End Date
Ongoing
No
Time Limited or Repeated?
A single, defined period of time
Purpose/Goal
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of government and public bodies
Develop the civic capacities of individuals, communities, and/or civil society organizations
Approach
Co-governance
Spectrum of Public Participation
Collaborate
Total Number of Participants
36
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Open to All
Recruitment Method for Limited Subset of Population
Stratified Random Sample
General Types of Methods
Deliberative and dialogic process
General Types of Tools/Techniques
Facilitate dialogue, discussion, and/or deliberation
Facilitate decision-making
Propose and/or develop policies, ideas, and recommendations
Specific Methods, Tools & Techniques
Deliberation
Legality
Yes
Facilitators
Yes
Facilitator Training
Professional Facilitators
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Online
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Discussion, Dialogue, or Deliberation
Information & Learning Resources
Expert Presentations
Video Presentations
Written Briefing Materials
Decision Methods
Voting
If Voting
Super-Majoritarian
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Public Report
Minority Report
Primary Organizer/Manager
MosaicLab
Type of Organizer/Manager
Individual
Government-Owned Corporation
Funder
Coliban Water
Type of Funder
Government-Owned Corporation
Staff
Yes
Evidence of Impact
Yes
Types of Change
Changes in public policy
Changes in how institutions operate
Implementers of Change
Corporations
Formal Evaluation
Yes
Evaluation Report Documents
Coliban_Water_Pricing_Submission_-_Community_Panel_-_Process_Report_-_March_2022_Final.pdf

As part of a broader community engagement process, a community panel was set up to help water management company Coliban Water address concerns around the future of water needs in the area and how to respond to infrastructure demands and a changing climate.

Problems and Purpose

The community panel was tasked with assisting Coliban Water’s upcoming 2023-2028 pricing submission, which is reviewed every few years by the Victorian Essential Services Commission (ESC). [1] Panelists were asked to respond to the following question: How does Coliban Water prepare for tomorrow while being fair to customers today? [2] 


Background History and Context

Coliban Water is responsible for the supply of water to 49 towns in North Central Victoria, Australia. In 2021, Coliban Water began the process of seeking customer input into the delivery of water to the community while responding to present and future needs. The community panel was part of a larger community engagement process. [3] 

This community engagement process focused on key questions around four themes: intergenerational debt/equity, community contributions, drought preparedness, and customers experiencing vulnerability. Community engagement activities took the form of a desktop review, stakeholder interviews, telephone survey, bill simulator survey, bill simulator focus groups, and bill simulator interviews. The information gathered and data generated through the wider community engagement was compiled into a report that fed into and was referenced for the community panel. [4] 


Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities

MosaicLab assisted with the design of the process and facilitated the community panel. They were supported by Insync, a consultancy firm. The Sortition Foundation was drawn on for recruitment. [5] 


Participant Recruitment and Selection

36 panelists were recruited according to the random stratified sampling method to get a broadly representative sample of the Coliban population demographics. Expressions of interest were sent to 15,000 people, and of those who responded, a descriptive sample was chosen to participate. [6]  

NB: another report on the process states that the panel started with 42 participants and completed with 33 participants. [7] 


Methods and Tools Used

This followed a community panel format, which is similar to a citizens’ jury


What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation

The community panel met over four full Saturdays and all in an online format via Zoom. There was an extra meet and greet session prior to deliberation, also via Zoom. The deliberation meetings were held over four Saturdays in February and April 2022. There was also an additional panel recall day in June 2022. Below is an outline of what happened at each of the meetings. 

Meet and Greet – Panelists met each other and organisers for the first time. They were familiarised with resources available to them, and were introduced to the deliberative process and topic to be discussed over the next four meetings. The meet and greet concluded by checking in with participants about how they were feeling about the day and the upcoming stages in the process. 

Day 1 – This was the first full day of deliberation. Panelists were given an overview of critical thinking approaches, and then given information about the broader process this deliberative stage was a part of. Panelists could ask Coliban Water staff questions, and the day involved a speed dialogue session with eight experts about key considerations for Coliban’s water planning. Panelists could then recommend additional information and speakers for the next day. 

Day 2 – The day began with a reminder of what happened at the previous meeting and an overview of the present day. The eight requested speakers at the previous meeting held presentations in small groups for more in depth discussion. Coliban Water representatives then shared some of the challenges around water management, and there was a Q and A session. Panelists then began initial discussions for their recommendations.  

Day 3 – As with the previous day, this day began with a recap of the previous meeting. Panelists then further deliberated on their recommendations according to four key themes as determined by Coliban Water. This was done as a big group and in small groups. The draft recommendations were given to Coliban Water for feedback at the next meeting. 

Day 4 – The day began with a recap of the previous meeting. Coliban Water responded to the draft recommendations from Day 3, and panelists were given an opportunity to ask questions about the feedback. Panelists then revisited the recommendations and made further adjustments. At the end of the day the final recommendations were presented to the Board Chairperson. Panelists were also given the opportunity to share their thoughts and reflections about the process. [8] 

Recommendations were decided upon through super majority voting, and participants were able to begin drafting the report themselves before presenting it to the Board Chair of Coliban Water. [9] 

Sources of information for the panel consisted of a background report, wider engagement report, Q and As with Coliban Water representatives, formal presentations, curated speakers (to present various perspectives on issues), and other sources as needed. [10] 


Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

The community panel deliberations culminated in nine recommendations to Coliban Water. These recommendations were considered by Coliban Water as well as the wider community for feedback. There were also three minority reports. [11] 

The Price Submission as contributed to by the community panel, was approved by the Essential Services Commission and came into effect in July 2023. [12] 


Analysis and Lessons Learned

Panelists who took part in the deliberations felt they would be more inclined to take part in civic activities as a result of being part of the process. The post-deliberation survey also showed that panelists had greater confidence of their influence in Coliban Water’s decisions than they did at the start. The level of trust in Coliban Water also increased at the end of the process, as well as the views of its authenticity. The majority of participants found the information given them to be clear, useful and balanced. [13] 

Quotes and comments from panelists about the experience are available on Coliban Water’s website and Facebook page. 


See Also

References

[1] MosaicLab (2022) Coliban Water Pricing Submission Community Panel: Process Report. Available at: https://hdp-au-prod-app-coliban-engagement-files.s3.ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/2216/5309/4161/Coliban_Water_Pricing_Submission_-_Community_Panel_-_Process_Report_-_March_2022_Final.pdf 

[2] MosaicLab (n.d.) Latest Projects: Coliban Water Community Panel. Available at: https://www.mosaiclab.com.au/latest-projects  

[3] MosaicLab (2022) Coliban Water Pricing Submission Community Panel: Process Report. Available at: https://hdp-au-prod-app-coliban-engagement-files.s3.ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/2216/5309/4161/Coliban_Water_Pricing_Submission_-_Community_Panel_-_Process_Report_-_March_2022_Final.pdf  

[4] Ibid. 

[5] Connect Coliban (2023) Community Panel. Available at: https://connect.coliban.com.au/ps23/community-panel-recommendations  

[6] Ibid. 

[7] Ibid. 

[8] Connect Coliban (2023) Community Panel: Deliberations. Available at: https://connect.coliban.com.au/ps23/deliberative-panel 

[9] MosaicLab (2022) Coliban Water Pricing Submission Community Panel: Process Report. Available at: https://hdp-au-prod-app-coliban-engagement-files.s3.ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/2216/5309/4161/Coliban_Water_Pricing_Submission_-_Community_Panel_-_Process_Report_-_March_2022_Final.pdf 

[10] Ibid. 

[11] Ibid. 

[12] Connect Coliban (2023) Price Submission 2023. Available at: https://connect.coliban.com.au/ps23  

[13] MosaicLab (2022) Coliban Water Pricing Submission Community Panel: Process Report. Available at: https://hdp-au-prod-app-coliban-engagement-files.s3.ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/2216/5309/4161/Coliban_Water_Pricing_Submission_-_Community_Panel_-_Process_Report_-_March_2022_Final.pdf 


External Links

Notes