The purpose of this paper is to examine how organisations generate the additional value from community consultation and take advantage of the opportunities that engagement with the community can present.
The paper derives from the author's experiences as a public relations officer. In 2000, he experienced two consultations on the same topic while working for the City of Melbourne. The first was a consultation imposed by the State Government on whether supervised injecting facilities should be introduced in Victoria to deal with the growing heroin problem. The second was the development of the City's Drug Action Plan. The contrast between these two consultations was stark and motivated the author to share his thoughts on community consultation.
More successful community consultations, and more creative results, are achieved by consulting about the problem, allowing the community and organisation to come up with solutions together. This approach was particularly successful in the development and implementation of the City of Melbourne Drug Action Plan in 2000. Community consultation can be a very effective tool when used appropriately by organisations that are prepared to utilise the knowledge and expertise of the communities they deal with.
While this paper deals predominantly with community relations in the organisational operations context, the techniques described are valid and useful for all community relations projects regardless of definition, and indeed can be used in other forms of public relations and public affairs.
Barbaro, G. (2006), "Defining realities: Why community consultation needs to start with the problem, not the solution", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 44-54. https://doi.org/10.1108/13632540610646364Download as .RIS
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