Mansfield Shire Council
The newly introduced "Local Government Act 2020" requires Victorian Councils to maintain a Community Vision that is developed with its municipal community in accordance with its deliberative engagement practices.
To co-design a 2040 Community Vision for community, with community, using a bespoke deliberative engagement methodology.
The Mansfield Shire Community Vision 2040 was accepted by Mansfield Shire Council on October 20, 2021.
Mansfield Shire is one of Victoria’s smallest Councils (population-wise) yet is diverse in its geography and economy—encompassing snowy peaks, fertile agricultural land, and bustling townships. With 50% of the population non-resident ratepayers, the Shire represents a wide range of views, needs, and interests.
Although many of the foundational challenges and opportunities of today will still exist in 2040 (such as education, health, and the environment), the context of the Shire, its people, and the world at large is likely to be vastly different.
In 2018, Mansfield Shire was projected to have an average population growth of 1.1%. Its current population growth is a staggering 3.6%—far outpacing average Victorian regional population growth of 1.3%. Extrapolating these figures out to 2040, Mansfield Shire may easily see a population of between 11,800 and 18,000 people—most of which will likely be concentrated around Mansfield township. This does not include contextual social changes occurring today, such as migration to regional areas as a result of COVID-19.
Mansfield Shire will inevitably continue to grow, evolve, and change. How it manages this change to ensure healthy prosperity, wellbeing, infrastructure, environment, and community is key—requiring a robust Vision that both Council and the wider community can use as its ‘North Star’ on its path to 2040.
The Local Government Act 2020 (‘the Act’) was introduced in 2020 as an ambitious reform—allowing Councils to move towards a principles-based approaches to community development and engagement. Under the Act, all Councils are required to develop a Community Vision through a deliberative engagement process. The Act states:
spur: was engaged to co-design a Mansfield Shire Community Vision 2040, using a deliberative engagement methodology as per the requirements outlined above.
The Act requires Mansfield Shire’s 2040 Community Vision to be developed through a “deliberative engagement process”. This means that engagement should be defined, informed, representative, supported and democratic. However, the Act stops short of providing a mandated process or methodology. This is perhaps advantageous as every Shire requires a unique approach; how Melbourne deliberatively engages will (and should) be different to how Glenelg Shire or Mansfield Shire approaches deliberative engagement.
Although there are many schools of thought about deliberative engagement, most are built on the principle of shifting engagement with community towards a state of empowerment—as outlined in IAP2’s Spectrum of Participation (which, in itself, is built on Arnstein's Ladder of Participation).
In conjunction with developing the 2040 Community Vision, spur: was also engaged to develop a bespoke Deliberative Engagement Framework, adaptable to myriad Council projects.
An initial draft Deliberative Engagement Framework was developed by spur: and tested as the underpinning methodology for the 2040 Community Vision. This draft framework was then refined based on the insights and learnings uncovered. The final framework now underpins all future Council community engagement initiatives.
Below is an excerpt of the framework's core architecture built on four key pillars of representation, understanding, input, and decision-making. The architecture is specifically designed to be generative, not prescriptive:
More information on the framework's base architecture is available (open source) as a tool via the spur: resources page.
Beyond the narrow requirement outlined by the Local Government Act 2020 of steering Council decision making and action, a good community vision should inspire and activate community. Similarly, the power of a vision is not realised through the mere existence of words, but through the actions by both Council and the community at large.
According to the Mansfield Shire community the Vision should be:
The Mansfield Shire Vision 2040 was developed in 6 phases to achieve the goals outlined below:
Phase 1 · Council engagement · April 2021
Phase 2 · Community representative engagement · May–June, 2021
Phase 3 · Community engagement · July 2021
Phase 4 ·Deliberative engagement · July 2021
Phase 5 & 6· Community feedback & adoption by Council · August–September, 2021
The resulting Community Vision 2040 is comprehensive and, as noted by Mansfield Shire Councillor Tehan, a "vision for the community, by the community".
Below is a one-page summary of the vision broken into domains, destinations (outcomes we want to achieve), barriers (to the destinations), journeys (how the community will each overcome the barriers to reaching the destinations), and enablers (base requirements and methods).
Click the image to see a larger version:
As the Community Vision 2040 is in the public record, we are also delighted to share the comprehensive report, too.
The Mansfield Shire Community Vision 2040 was adopted by Mansfield Shire Council on October 19, 2021. Below is a video from the Council meeting:
He / Him