Data

General Issues
Planning & Development
Environment
Specific Topics
Land Use
Environmental Conservation
Location
34 Civic Drive
Greensborough
Victoria
3088
Australia
Scope of Influence
City/Town
Files
Nillumbik GWMP Process Report
Links
https://www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Planning-matters/Planning-for-our-Shire/Our-Green-Wedge
https://participate.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/gwmp/community-panel
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
Approach
Consultation
Spectrum of Public Participation
Consult
Total Number of Participants
39
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Limited to Only Some Groups or Individuals
Recruitment Method for Limited Subset of Population
stratified
General Types of Methods
Deliberative and dialogic process
General Types of Tools/Techniques
Facilitate dialogue, discussion, and/or deliberation
Collect, analyse and/or solicit feedback
Recruit or select participants
Specific Methods, Tools & Techniques
Citizens' Jury
Survey
Workshop
Online Deliberation
Online Voting
Legality
Yes
Facilitators
Yes
Facilitator Training
Professional Facilitators
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Both
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Discussion, Dialogue, or Deliberation
Ask & Answer Questions
Express Opinions/Preferences Only
Information & Learning Resources
Written Briefing Materials
Site Visits
Expert Presentations
Decision Methods
Voting
If Voting
Super-Majoritarian
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Public Report
Minority Report
Type of Organizer/Manager
Local Government
For-Profit Business
Funder
Nilumbik Shire Council
Type of Funder
Local Government
Staff
Yes
Volunteers
No
Evidence of Impact
Yes
Types of Change
Changes in public policy
Implementers of Change
Elected Public Officials
Stakeholder Organizations
Formal Evaluation
No

CASE

Nillumbik Shire Community Panel

November 16, 2019 13:01   (UTC +00:00) Lucy J Parry, Participedia Team
November 10, 2019 11:11   (UTC +00:00) Lucy J Parry, Participedia Team
November 10, 2019 10:10   (UTC +00:00) Lucy J Parry, Participedia Team
September 3, 2019 24:12   (UTC +00:00) Scott Fletcher, Participedia Team
July 6, 2019 08:08   (UTC +00:00) Lucy J Parry, Participedia Team
General Issues
Planning & Development
Environment
Specific Topics
Land Use
Environmental Conservation
Location
34 Civic Drive
Greensborough
Victoria
3088
Australia
Scope of Influence
City/Town
Files
Nillumbik GWMP Process Report
Links
https://www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Planning-matters/Planning-for-our-Shire/Our-Green-Wedge
https://participate.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/gwmp/community-panel
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
Approach
Consultation
Spectrum of Public Participation
Consult
Total Number of Participants
39
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Limited to Only Some Groups or Individuals
Recruitment Method for Limited Subset of Population
stratified
General Types of Methods
Deliberative and dialogic process
General Types of Tools/Techniques
Facilitate dialogue, discussion, and/or deliberation
Collect, analyse and/or solicit feedback
Recruit or select participants
Specific Methods, Tools & Techniques
Citizens' Jury
Survey
Workshop
Online Deliberation
Online Voting
Legality
Yes
Facilitators
Yes
Facilitator Training
Professional Facilitators
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Both
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Discussion, Dialogue, or Deliberation
Ask & Answer Questions
Express Opinions/Preferences Only
Information & Learning Resources
Written Briefing Materials
Site Visits
Expert Presentations
Decision Methods
Voting
If Voting
Super-Majoritarian
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Public Report
Minority Report
Type of Organizer/Manager
Local Government
For-Profit Business
Funder
Nilumbik Shire Council
Type of Funder
Local Government
Staff
Yes
Volunteers
No
Evidence of Impact
Yes
Types of Change
Changes in public policy
Implementers of Change
Elected Public Officials
Stakeholder Organizations
Formal Evaluation
No

Nillumbik Shire Council in Victoria established a community panel of randomly selected citizens to deliberate on how to preserve its 'green wedge', an area of non-urban land on the outskirts of Melbourne.

Problems and Purpose

Following its election in 2016, Nillumbik Shire Council decided to review its Green Wedge Management Plan (GWMP). Green wedges are areas of land between developed and non-developed metropolitan regions in Australia – in this case Melbourne. Although not protected in the same way as national parks, they comprise more rural buffer zones that are taken into consideration when planning urban expansion [1].

The council convened a community panel to support its review of the GWMP, with the panel being asked to consider a potential vision for the green wedge alongside practical objectives that the council should take into consideration. Prior to the panel, the council committed to considering all the recommendations and providing reasons for any that were not adopted [2].


Background History and Context

The state of Victoria has been host to a number of deliberative mini-publics in recent years, both at state (e.g. Infrastructure Victoria) and local (e.g. Geelong Citizens’ Jury) levels. 

Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities

The community panel was convened by Nillumbik Shire Council, with the recruitment conducted by Deliberately Engaging, and the process design and facilitation by Mosaiclab – both independent companies.

Participant Recruitment and Selection

Participants were recruited by Deliberately Engaging, an independent recruitment service for deliberative processes. From an initial random sample, 10, 000 invitations were sent to households and businesses in the area. From respondents who registered their interest in participating, a representative sample of 44 people was chosen based on demographic factors of age, gender and geographic location [3]. The aim was to have 50:50 rural and urban residents in the panel [4]. In total, 39 people attended the entire panel.

Methods and Tools Used

A community panel is comparable to a citizens’ jury. In addition to the panel, the council also used surveys and workshops as part of their wider community engagement

What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation

Prior to the panel being convened, the council conducted a wider community engagement process to feed into the GWMP. This included surveys, workshops and drawings to help identify key themes around how people felt about the green wedge. Panel members received this community engagement report and a background report before meeting in person. The panel met in person six times over two months, and were encouraged to take part in online discussion in between these meetings.

A stakeholder group was also identified and this group were informed about the panel process, so that they had the opportunity to observe the panel and/or nominate speakers [5].

The first meeting was dedicated to understanding the importance of assessing information. Mosaiclab provided activities to develop critical thinking skills [6]. The council had the opportunity to nominate potential speakers and from this, any gaps were identified and panellists could find other experts to fill these.

In between days one and two, participants had the opportunity to take a bus tour of the green wedge, or take a self-guided tour with a map.

At the next two meetings, panellists worked to understand the key issues and the range of perspectives on the management of the green wedge. They took part in Q&A sessions with the selected speakers and were able to request further speakers. Following the third meeting, the online discussion was closed as it was not being used by the panellists to a sufficient extent. At this point, four panellists also withdrew from the panel as they were dissatisfied with the process, and felt that only landowners or green wedge residents should have been part of the panel, rather than the 50:50 balance [7].

At the fourth meeting, the panel began to review the key ideas generated so far and began to draft some initial recommendations. These ideas were then tested out by the whole group to understand how everyone felt about them. Following this, the council also reviewed these initial recommendations and provided feedback to the panel regarding clarity and implementation.

At the fifth panel day, the four members who withdrew returned to the panel. Participants worked on redrafting their recommendations. Following this session, panellists reviewed their 37 recommendations using an online survey in between days five and six. The final day saw panellist reviewing their recommendations again and developing a vision statement and preamble for the final report. Panellists then voted on the final recommendations using a scale that ranged from ‘love it to loathe it’. Voting was carried out on an online voting platform and recommendations that reached 80% and above were included in the final report.

In addition to the final recommendations, two minority reports were written up and included for council. There was some confusion and concern around this as one minority report had been prepared by a small group of panellists outside of the room and without the prior knowledge of facilitators and organizers. Because of this, council did not accept this minority report [8].

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

The council fully supported 31 out of 32 panel recommendations. This support includes both full support, ‘support-in-principle’ and ‘partially support’ – meaning that some aspects or details might be different when they appear in the council’s GWMP. The minority report recommendation was not supported, and the additional minority report mentioned above was not considered [9].

Analysis and Lessons Learned

Towards the start of the panel, a number of concerns were raised about the process. On the first day, the panellists were concerned that a number of submissions had been included in a verbatim report, despite the fact that the wider community engagement had not included additional submissions [10]. The panel provided a statement to the council about their concerns.

An online portal was used with the intention of discussion taking place in between panel sessions. However, after the first meeting it appeared that only a few panellists were taking part in online discussion. Facilitators called all the panellists to check that they were comfortable with the overall panel process and the online discussion in between the first and second meeting. Despite this, the online discussion was not used much more and after the third panel session no more questions were posted for discussion [11].

There was some controversy over the production of a second minority report. Mosaiclab produced a report for council on this where they state that a group of four panellists decided the leave the room to write their minority report alone, despite this not being the usual way minority recommendations are written up (usually in the room, following voting). The group chose to write their minority report before they knew which recommendations had super majority and did not stay with the rest of the panel to work on the final stages of the main document on day six. This minority report transpired to be a lengthy document that also discussed issues beyond the final recommendations. Due to time pressure and attempting to finish the final main recommendations, facilitators continued with the process and this minority was entered into the main document. As a result, the rest of the panel were unaware of this minority report until they saw the final report in its entirety and some were concerned by this.

Mosaiclab reflect that in retrospect, it would have been better to halt the process and properly consider the situation with the whole panel:

At the time, we did nothing to address the situation, as we were under significant time pressure to have the panel finalise its report, to have the report presented to the Mayor and Councillors and to close by 5pm. On reflection this was poor judgement on our part and we should have halted the process regardless of the time pressure given the nature of minority report #1 (not written in the room, length and addressing issues beyond the ‘below 80%’ recommendations) [12].

In the future, they point out that it would be useful to provide clearer guidelines regarding minority reports so that participants have a clear remit as to what is acceptable practice from the start [13].


See Also

References

[1] Nillumbik Shire Council (2018). Background Report Community Panel [pdf]. Available at: https://s3.ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/hdp.au.prod.app.nil-participate.files/3215/4872/8538/GWMP_Background_report.pdf

[3] Wayfairer Consulting (2018). Nillumbik Green Wedge Management Plan Community Engagement Report [pdf]. Available at: https://participate.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/gwmp/community-panel

[4] Mosaiclab (2018). Green Wedge Management Plan Community Panel Process Report [pdf]. Available at: https://s3.ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/hdp.au.prod.app.nil-participate.files/6915/4941/1901/Nillumbik-GWMP-ProcessReport-Dec2018-FINAL-web.pdf

[5] Ibid, p.14.

[6] Ibid, p.14.

[7] Ibid, p.15.

[8] Ibid, p.16.

[9] Nilumbik Shire Council (2019). Community Panel. Available at: https://participate.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/gwmp/community-panel

[10] Mosaiclab (2018). Green Wedge Management Plan Community Panel Process Report [pdf]. Available at: https://s3.ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/hdp.au.prod.app.nil-participate.files/6915/4941/1901/Nillumbik-GWMP-ProcessReport-Dec2018-FINAL-web.pdf

[11] Ibid, p.14.

[12] Mosaiclab (2018). Development of Minority Reports in a Deliberative Process MosaicLab Report to Nillumbik Shire Council and the GWMP Community Panel [pdf]. Available at: https://s3.ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/hdp.au.prod.app.nil-participate.files/1815/4941/2337/MosaicLab_Report_-_Minority_Reports.pdf

[13] Ibid.

External Links

https://participate.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/gwmp/community-panel

https://www.mosaiclab.com.au/current-projects

Notes