A FRESH APPROACH
Ratepayers Victoria has been piloting a new initiative to better engage Victorians around local councils and local government issues. We have found that using a more community-focused marketing brand has been much more effective at gaining engagement. We have been trialing a much more "local issues by local people" approach within our communities. This has led to us using a new brand "Council Watch". Designed to emulate the community buy-in of the similarly named "neighbourhood watch", we have found the take-up and feedback to be overwhelmingly positive.
LOCALS DRIVING LOCAL CHANGE
The introduction of Council Watch is designed to give every local municipality (all 79 of them) a Council-focused representative group. It is designed to not just represent the interests of ratepayers, but rather, of all eligible voters. Given renters also vote in local council elections and can make up 40% of some municipalities, the brand was introduced to be more inclusive. It is not designed to replace existing community groups, but rather, to compliment them, as much of the work will be social media exclusive. This means the council watch groups will be using social media to do their work and to drive local engagement alone.
Council watch will raise up 79 local groups who operate on Social Media as a conduit to the community. We already know that Councils are inherently bad at community engagement, so the council watch group in each area will hold council to this very important principle.
Council watch will teach a group leader (or 2) in each municipality how to use Social media to discuss the workings of their local council within a "what it means to the community" framework. The role of each group is to provide information, assess and critique council decisions, ensure robust debate on issues, hold councillors to public account, and ensure the administration is properly engaging with the community on the big and small issues.
Of course Council Watch will always be non-partisan and will seek to critique councillor decision-making, it is vital that all councillors demonstrate their efforts in representing the community. Sadly, many long term councillors are entrenched and not always focused on their constituents.
WE NEED YOU
If you have been following your local council and want to help us make changes in your community, please register your interest by emailing us here:
All you need to include are your contact details and the name of your local Council.
We will then join you with others in your local area and facilitate the group and training.
Remember, this is a social media initiative and the aim is to get a council watch group in every local council municipality.
We will only get change if WE demand it.