Extract from 2016 Community Engagement Summit, Sydney, presentation by Christine Narramore, Central Coast Council.

Local Government is progressing through significant change with many council’s amalgamating and their communities growing by more than double.  Many of these communities were aggressively against amalgamations and are now part of a larger community they don’t identify with.  

The recently formed Central Coast Council worked to create and maintain a sense of community from the start of their merger.  Their first step was to understand the existing communities and how they will be affected by the process and begin to engage with them immediately. Maintaining a community throughout change is easier than establishing an entirely new sense of community out of disparate parties.

Once change is underway, its critical to to create a central vision that outlines the ideal outcomes, the process to get there and the change the community should expect.  By constantly engaging and communicating with the community it allows for a greater sense of security and regularity in the face of change.  The community feels part of a group moving forwards and evolving rather than a process that is leaving existing parts of the community behind.

From this, it is possible to build up a real momentum for change. Keep people involved in the process and leverage greater effort from them. Don’t just keep change as something in the background, but make it something they want to be a part of. By keeping the community united and focused on the final goal, momentum can be maintained and the community becomes excited for the final outcomes.

The five key elements presented for effective change during this presentation are as follows:

❶ Build a Momentum for Change

❷ Leadership that Inspires

❸ Create a Compelling Vision

❹ Enable a Culture for Success

❺ Provide a Clear ‘Line Of Sight’