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Lessons from our Clients


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Hosting over 300 Online Community Consultations, we have learnt a few lessons from our Clients on what makes a great consultation.

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Lessons from our Clients

  1. 1. 300 Forums 120 Clients in 3 Years
  2. 2. Section 1: Great Topics The most engaging topics are both concrete and emotional.
  3. 3. Hornsby Housing Strategy hornsbyhousing 35,300 Visits 9,200 Visitors 1,148 Comments 1,444 Docs Downloaded
  4. 4. Newcastle Rail Removal Jodi McKay MP 8,000 Visitors 2,500 Comments
  5. 5. Lismore Rates Increase 27,000 Visits 3,300 Visitors 1321 Comments
  6. 6. Section 2: Great Questions Great questions can take many forms depending on the topic, the strategy and the outcome you are looking for.
  7. 7. Scenario Based Questions Scenario based questions prompt participants to respond deeply to complex issues and provokes thoughtful dialogue. Is an offence that only risks a high level of harm more or less serious than an offence that actually causes a lower level of harm? Scenario 1 David throws a rock off a freeway overpass into moving traffic. The rock narrowly misses the windscreen of a car and bounces to the side of the road. No one is physically injured. Scenario 2 David punches Victor once in the face, intending to injure him, Victor’s face is bruised. 3775 Visits 1440 Visitors 218 Comments
  8. 8. Open Questions Broken Hill City Council got a thoughtful response to its Aquatic Centre consultation by asking a series of open questions. Open Question What are your thoughts on the best way to structure the entry fee and what do you think would be an appropriate charge? Open Question Do you have a view on the best way for recreational swimmers, club swimmers and lap swimmers to share the 25m and 50m pools? Open Question What new facility would you like to see incorporated into the complex should extra funding become available? 9,200 Visits 2,800 Visitors 92 Comments
  9. 9. Appreciative Questions The City of Melville’s community development team asked their community to think positively to help inform their cultural plan. Appreciative Question What are three things you like to do in the City of Melville and why? Appreciative Question What ideas do you have to enhance the quality of life in our local community? Appreciative Question When people visit, what are you proud to show them in your local community and why? 2097 Site Visits 809 Visitors 146 Comments
  10. 10. Place BasedTopics Hornsby Shire Council asked its community to respond to the draft housing strategy by thinking about the impact on their suburb. hornsbyhousing 10,500 Site Visits 3,044 Visitors 1405 Comments 1:6 Comment/Reply Ratio
  11. 11. OpeningUp Discussion Topics NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has opened up the potential of the forums by letting their stakeholder community create their own discussion topics. 10,500 Site Visits 3,044 Visitors 1405 Comments 1:6 Comment/Reply Ratio
  12. 12. Forum asFAQ Peabody Energy has demonstrated that it is possible to use the forum as a “live” frequently asked questions space. They respond to each an every issued raised by a member of the public. 19,700 Visits 3,300 Visitors 1,175 Docs Downloaded 51 Comments
  13. 13. Section 3: Great Content Great content makes the issues accessible and demonstrates your commitment.
  14. 14. ClearCopy & Call to Action The New Zealand Government’s Rethink Online site demonstrated that plain English and straightforward instructions can make even the most complex consultation accessible. “Calling all web teams, vendors and other experts on government online - we're looking for ways that New Zealand government can improve online information and services, make better use of our limited resources and keep up with change.” www.rethinkonline.newzealand. 3234 Site Visits 1013 Visitors 100 Active Participants 146 Comments
  15. 15. Embedded Slideshows Embedding slideshows in the discussion forums made it easy for participants to appreciate the competition entries for St Kilda Botanical Garden gates designs. www.haveyoursayportphillip. 2773 Site Visits 957 Visitors 267 Document Downloads
  16. 16. Audio Tweed Shire made great use of audio files to talk through the detail behind the Community Strategic Plan consultation 3,696 Site Visits 595 Visitors 248 Comments 295 Document Downloads
  17. 17. Video Vox Pops Grafton Shire made great use of video vox pops with community members to get the rest of the community involved in the Library Service Plan. new-grafton-library 5,049 Site Visits 944 Visitors 176 Document Downloads
  18. 18. Video Invitation Warringah Mayor, Michael Regan, issued a personal invitation by video to Warringah residents to get involved in the consultation about their housing strategy. futurehousing 8,400 Visits 2,800 Visitors 167 Comments 242 Document Downloads
  19. 19. Section 4: Great Management Great management can make the difference between good consultation outcomes and a great consultation outcomes.
  20. 20. Demonstrable responsiveness The Lake Macquarie Council waste management team made 62 comments on their own forum to either respond, thank or follow up on participant comments. www.haveyoursaylakemac 5968 Site Visits 1966 Visitors 286 Comments “Hi Chookman, A 2 bin system achieves the same reduction to landfill as the 3 bin system - it recycles the general waste and turns it into a compost through an alternative waste treatment system. The benefit with a 2 bin system is people don't need to sort their food waste from everything else in their general kitchen bin, it remains business as usual, which caters to those people who are reluctant to make the effort to do this sorting.”
  21. 21. Knowledgeable Facilitators Knowledge specialist facilitators prompted participants to dig deeper in the Yarra Ranges Art in Public Places Consultation. 2,400 Visits 600 Visitors 248 Comments 8 Average per Participant 28/220 Comment/Reply Ration
  22. 22. Independent Facilitation The ACT Government brought in an independent facilitator to respond to forum participants and tease out issues. actconsultations 8,000 Visits 2,500 Visitors 538 Downloaded Docs
  23. 23. Submission Sharing The Office of the Australian Minister for the Arts used the library to share more that 22,500 of its public submissions with 3,800 people. 13,245 Site Visits 12,227 Visitors 3,835 Downloaded Docs 22,545 Document Downloads
  24. 24. Section 5: Great Strategy Great strategic planning drives more participation over the long term.
  25. 25. Community Building By launching with two high profile issues Hastings Council was able to quickly build a community of interest around its consultation site. 29,526 Site Visits 7,767 Visitors 10 Forums
  26. 26. Parallel Issues Blue Mountains Council has run nine consultations online in quick succession and in parallel to drive traffic from high interest issues through to lower interest projects. www.haveyoursaybluemountains 16,364 Site Visits 3,780 Visitors 46,816 Page Views 428 Comments
  27. 27. Parallel Processes Warringah Council got great results by using replicating their “Talk of the Town” process online. 1,300 Site Visits 500 Visitors 49 Comments
  28. 28. Archiving Consultations Logan City Council has created a dedicated newsfeed page listing each of its eleven archived consultations. www.haveyoursaylogancity. 17,593 Site Visits 4,756 Visitors 6 Forum Topics 610 Comments
  29. 29. Responding to Sentiment Lismore City Council received a loud and clear message from the community that it was overwhelmingly opposed to a rates increase. It responded by maintaining its existing rates schedule. www.haveyoursaylismore. 27,000 Site Visits 3,300 Visitors 1,321 Comments 15,000 Agrees & Disagrees